One of my favorite early childhood memories is sitting on the porch swing at my paternal grandma’s house. Her house had once been a one room school and I found that magical. My grandma loved books, maybe, because as a child of the depression, she didn’t have many of her own growing up. She would spend hours reading aloud to me-many of those hours spent reading our favorites over and over. I am sure that I love books because she loved books.
Learning starts by hearing. Language develops while listening to it all around us. That is why talking to children is important! Children who arrive at school with a large vocabulary do better. Books contain more sophisticated language, which helps increase vocabulary, which helps children become more successful learners.
Reading to older children is also important. Many times when children become “independent readers” grownups stop reading to them. A child’s “listening level” is usually much more advanced than their reading level. Children in upper elementary and even middle school still benefit from being read to. It helps children process difficult emotional issues and increases attention span.
As a sophomore in college, I walked into my children’s literature class to find that each day my professor was going to read aloud to us. At first, you could feel the uncomfortableness in the room. We were nineteen and twenty. We didn’t need someone to READ ALOUD to us. That notion lasted about two days. Then we were hooked. We couldn’t wait to hear the next class day’s selection.
Reading aloud to your child is the best way to promote the importance of reading and the joy that it brings.
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