The Impact of Reading

The Impact of Reading
Article submitted by Kathleen Thomas on behalf of Primrose Schools

It has long been known that early reading is a key predictor of academic success in children. Early reading includes being read to and interacting with books, and may begin when the child is still in the womb. While reading may sound simple, parents are often at a loss as to just how to implement reading time with their children. Suggestions are given here for parents to develop productive and fun early reading experiences that will help build a strong foundation for children to become successful readers.

First, show interest in reading. Exaggerating expressions, words, and excitement about the book will help young children begin to develop a connection between sounds and meaning. It will also show them that you are excited about reading. Getting creative and making up a more personalized story will also make the story more interesting. Even reading your own books will help your children see that you enjoy reading, and may instill more enjoyment of reading in them as well.

Second, read with your children and not just to them. Make the story interactive by directing their attention to pictures. Ask questions that elicit age-appropriate responses, such as animal sounds and colors. Often, repetitive phrases that they can repeat will help them interact more and make them feel like they can read along with you. As children get older, they will ask questions and point to pictures themselves. They will retell stories in their own words and may even create brand new stories to go with the pictures. This illustrates their understanding that stories are communicated through books, and is an important stage in developing good readers.

Third, schedule time for reading, beginning in infancy. It is important to sit down every day and read with a child. Even though children will have reading time at preschool, leaving reading solely for school time will not help children develop into early and active readers. Connecting regularly with them over a book will develop their reading skills as well as your enjoyment in being together.

Fourth, choose an appropriate book. Consider the interests, reading level, and language development of your child. A preschooler needs lots of interesting pictures and language simple enough to understand. Think back to your own favorite books as a child and share them with your child. By choosing books you enjoy, you will be more willing to read them over and over, which every child will want to do. As children get older, ask teachers for recommendations, especially those related to topics being covered in class. Reading these books at home will help strengthen reading skills, and may also positively impact knowledge of other school subject matter.

Finally, make appropriate books readily available. Having a variety of different topics will appeal to many interests, especially when the books are age-appropriate. Keep a stash of books in the car. Children will be able to enjoy reading on the road, and a few books can easily be grabbed when a waiting period is expected at the doctor’s office or anywhere else. The local library is an excellent resource for finding books that your children will enjoy that are interesting, appealing, and appropriate.

By considering and acting on the tips above, parents can provide their children with the best possible path to becoming a good reader even before preschool. Helping develop reading skills can also strengthen language skills in general, and will provide a support system as children develop cognitively. Parental support of early reading not only provides your child with the tools for greater academic success later, but opens worlds for them that would be inaccessible without books.


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