• Jeanie A

Early reading: Why does it matter?


From the moment they announce their joyous news, new parents are bombarded with advice and opinions from well-meaning friends. They're told what items are must-haves for the nursery, which sleep training method is most effective, and given tips on how to survive those early sleepless nights. Sadly, one piece of advice you don't often hear as a new parent is "Make sure you read to them right away!" 

You might be thinking, "Really? Newborns need books?" "Do I really need to read to my baby?" "How could that possibly matter?" Well, interestingly enough, studies show it does matter! The number of books in the home is the only thing that correlates significantly with a child's reading success later in life. Also, children who are read to at least three times a week by a family member are almost twice as likely to score in the top 25% in reading compared to children who are read to less than 3 times a week. Given the statistics associated with early reading, it's a shame more parents aren't told to ensure they have age-appropriate books in their home and that they read them out loud to their child. 


It is easy to understand why being able to read is linked to success in life, but why is it important to read to children early? Well again, research shows us that just like babies begin learning to speak well before they actually say their first word, children begin to learn to read well before they tackle their first words in a book. Not only do they need to hear their native language from a competent reader in order to learn sounds, pronunciation and cadence, they also need to learn important skills such as reading from left to right and turning pages. It may seem like a pointless task to read a board book out loud to a restless toddler, but you can trust that your efforts are not in vain. That simple task is laying a foundation for life as a competent reader!


Children who are read to early in their life also discover the magic of books at an earlier age. For anyone who has been transported to another universe, whisked into a thrilling adventure, or visited a long-lost world through the pages of a book, we know the wonder that reading can bring and we want our children to experience that thrill as well.


Almost every parent aspires to raise a child that thrives and flourishes in life. Things change at such a pace in our modern world that learning and literacy have taken on new importance. Fostering early reading in your child's life sets them up for a lifetime of success and makes them more empathetic and happier people. Not to mention, it opens up a world of wonder that will delight them for a lifetime!



References:

https://ferstreaders.org/resources/fifty-top-literacy-statistics https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/can-reading-make-you-happier Becoming a Nation of Readers, What Parents Can Do, prepared by Marilyn R. Binkle

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