Reading to Your Kids: Why You Can't Afford Not To
As a parent, you want your kids to grow, develop, and to be intelligent! Whether you admit it or not, it's true. It's why you spend countless hours and time researching and visiting preschools, school districts, curriculum, etc. You care about the education your child is going to receive so that they grow to be bright, smart children.
But there are things you can do on your own to encourage their learning potential. All you need is 15 minutes a day!
We all know reading is good for our kiddos, but why? If your child is dyslexic or you suspect dyslexia, these skills are applied to them regardless. Remember, your dyslexic children are very intelligent and will pick up on many of these skills at an earlier age.
Here are some reasons why you should spend time reading as a family:
Academic success: Studies show that children who are exposed to written and spoken language are more likely to do well in all aspects of the formal education experience. According to the International Reading Association and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, birth to eight years old is the most important time to learn literacy skills. Read more here.
Speech Skills: As a toddler and preschooler, your child is learning skills like enunciation. Simply flipping through a book and pretending to read, with those random squeals of joy, is very important as a pre-literacy activity.
A Relationship with You: Time spent with you will only get less and less the older your kids get. They will spend their time running around, playing, and doing the things they should be doing as kids. Learning to calm down, read a book, and snuggle up with you is something they will treasure. Enjoy those special moments now and encourage them as long as possible!
Basic Reading Skills: Reading is not an innate skill. We must learn that we read from left to right, top of the page to the bottom, etc.
Strong Discipline and Concentration Skills: Some kiddos are more wiggly than others...but give them a good book with mom or dad during story time and they can sit still and be so drawn into what they are listening to. This improves comprehension skills, memory, attention span, and self-discipline. Why do you think so many first and second grade teachers begin with story time right after recess? Because it calms the kids down and allows them to focus on something they really love!
Welcoming New Experiences: Is your child going to school soon? The doctor? Dentist? First sleepover? There are so many great books out there that have great stories about the many firsts in their lives! Create that connection to real life with fun stories.
Understanding Language & Vocabulary: Earlier reading and being read to is linked to a better understanding of language as a whole. It also grows their vocabulary. Simple as that.
Great Communication Skills: Engage your child in the stories that you read. Ask him or her what they think about the characters, what they would have done as the character, etc. This promotes high-order thinking as well as having fun with their imagination!
Logical Thinking Skills: Your toddler will soon understand and make connections to his real life as you read together. Reading helps them grasp abstract concepts, judgement, and cause and effect. But that often requires conversation...talk to them!
Knowledge that Reading IS Fun: Whether they are reading themselves, or you are reading to your children, reading can be fun! Most importantly, read books that they want to read. If they are not interested in it, you've lost them. And get creative! If you are reading stories about butterflies, why don't you do a craft activity where they can paint or draw butterflies? Make memories!
Can you afford not to read with you kiddos? All it takes is 15 minutes a day!
Whitney Stein, M.Ed.
They Dyslexia Connection