Keep Your Children Reading This Summer

This article was featured on The Rhode Show. Watch it here!

According to the International Reading Association, “the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”  In addition, as parents, we know that reading to our children is crucial in their overall development as well as their future success in school.  We know that we must be role models for our children, and expose them to as much print as possible even from the earliest age. 

What age should I begin reading to my child? 

Research shows that reading to a fetus in the womb can actually stimulate brain development.  It is pretty safe to say that it is never too early to begin reading to your child.  However, it is important that you choose age appropriate material to read to your child, as well as understand how and what to read to your young reader.

So, Just WHY is reading aloud to my child so important?

  • Reading aloud presents books as sources of pleasant, valuable, and exciting experiences. Children who value books are motivated to read on their own.

  • Reading aloud gives children background knowledge, which helps them make sense of what they see, hear, and read. The more adults read aloud to children, the larger their vocabularies will grow and the more they will know about the world and their place in it.

  • Reading aloud allows parents and teachers to be role models for reading. When children see adults excited about reading, they will catch their enthusiasm.

  • Reading aloud can introduce books and types of literature—poetry, short stories, biographies—children might not discover on their own.

  • Reading aloud introduces the language of books, which differs from language heard in daily conversations, on television, and in movies. Book language is more descriptive and uses more formal grammatical structures.

  • Reading aloud lets children use their imaginations to explore people, places, times, and events beyond.

  • Reading aloud is a social experience in which a caregiver, parent, or family member can develop a sense of trust, respect, and comfort with children.

  • Reading aloud provides children with the opportunity to discuss the text, make connections to the text, and opens the child’s imagination and cognitive skills to reach higher level thinking.

My child does not like to read, how can I make reading more engaging for them?

Many children do not “enjoy” reading because they are not successful at it, or because the act of reading may cause them stress or anxiety.  Many children are also focused on “getting the words right,” and not as focused on listening to the message the story portrays, or the content of the illustrations in the story.  Some great tips for engaging your child in reading are:

  • Allowing your child to choose his/her own book

  • Writing a story with your child – children are more likely to be interested in something they create themselves

  • Go to the library – the library is an exciting place for children to visit, especially the children’s section.  The library may engage your child in reading.

  • Local events – join a local story hour or story/craft activity that includes literacy.  Reading within a group of peers is fun and exciting for children, and not as structured as a school environment.

How Often Should I Read to My Child?

There is no such thing as reading to your child “too much,” as long as you ensure that the reading experience is not stressful for you and your child. Reading must be fun, enjoyable, and relaxing for all individuals involved within the experience.  Reading aloud or with your child at least one time each day is highly recommended.  The more reading children do, the more quickly they will develop reading skills, and the more likely they will be interested in reading.  Remember the following when considering how often you should read with your child:

  • A child who reads is a child who usually does well in school, is a good speller, has higher critical thinking skills, and has a greater pool of general knowledge.

  • Children should be encouraged to read every day, and as soon as they can turn the pages of a picture book, they should be taught to love and respect their books.

  • Parents should make themselves read more, as well, if they want their children to follow this example, since children often imitate their parents.

  • A love of and respect for reading fosters a love for learning and knowledge.

Summer Reading…

 

  • Reach out to your local library to join the Reading Program

  • Keep kids on track while they are on vacation

  • Set aside an hour day for quiet reading time

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Kelli Didomenico brings over 20 years of experience to her role as Vice President of Family Engagement at The Children’s Workshop.  In her role she welcomes and supports children and families directly but also supports the company’s center Directors to encourage families to become actively involved in their child’s education through parent committees, family events, and by volunteering in our classrooms.  Additionally, she reaches out to form partnerships that enhance the services that The Children’s Workshop can provide for its families.  Kelli earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College.

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