Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guest Post - Reading to your Children is Important!

Raising A Reader:

Literacy is The Foundation for Lifelong Learning
Submitted by Dan Gilbert, on behalf of Primrose Schools. Primrose is dedicated to delivering the highest quality early childhood education and supreme preschool services for families across the country.

Over the years, researchers have shown time and time again those children who are read to from infancy go on to experience greater academic success as they age. The key, apparently, is to help them love written language from an early age. Sharing books together in a loving environment is a great way to foster that. When children associate loving times and playfulness with books, it helps them develop an enthusiasm for reading that can't be squelched by boring school assignments or required reading. Starting in infancy, parents can make a habit of sharing books with children in order to foster their development.

Robert Needlman, M.D., author of Dr. Spock’s Baby Basics and member of the Primrose Schools Education Advisory Board, suggests that one of the most important things about nurturing a reader is to read with a child from a very early age.  Make time to read with your child in a regular basis, and start early.  It’s not enough to expect that the reading your child does at school or with their babysitters will be enough. It is also important for reading to be associated with the love and connection between parents and children. Children will be able to easily associate with this relationship.

Choosing quality books is another important part of helping make reading time special. Look specifically for books that have stimulating illustrations and simple, rhythmic language. If you find a book annoying or offensive, that energy will come through when you're reading it and tarnish the good times, so be sure to choose books you'll enjoy sharing with your children, especially since you'll probably be reading the same ones over and over again. Repetition is something kids enjoy and if your children don't think you're enjoying yourself then reading time won't be as fun. The goal is to keep it fun!

Here are some ideas offered by Primrose Schools for creating a fun reading environment and to start building a foundation for success for you little reader:

• Make sure kids have easy access to several developmentally appropriate books they can enjoy.

• Read to children every day, encouraging active participation by allowing them to speak during the story and discuss the illustrations.

• Keep a selection of books in the car and in your bag for times when you find yourself waiting in line.

• Pay attention to the things your children are learning in school and visit the library regularly to check out books related to that theme.

• Point out written words in signs and on clothing, to help kids begin to develop sight reading skills, which can work with phonetic knowledge later on.

• Pay attention to the exciting developmental stages kids go through when they're learning to be literate. Rejoice with children as they memorize passages and retell stories even if they use their own words. These steps are part of the process for some kids and indicate a love of reading, which will bloom into full literacy as time goes on.

Just like learning to write, kids need a supportive environment for learning how to read. An environment where books are shared and loved sets the foundation for the mechanics of learning to read later in life. It's never too early to start sharing books with children. When children have an intimate knowledge of how stories work, it follows that a love of written language and a passion for literature will help develop lifelong habits of enjoying books which will serve as a foundation for educational success.

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