An article in today’s newspaper says that two-thirds of youngsters are read to less than once a week. According to the Courier Mail (27/08/13), by the time a child reaches five, 64% of parents read to them less than once a week. For ages 9 – 12 this rises to 77%.On the upside, 80% of parents say they find time to read to their babies and toddlers at least once a week.
Reading to and with children is vital for their cognitive development. It helps them make the connection between symbols and words. There have been many studies that link academic success with early and frequent reading at home.
With today’s busy lifestyles, parents say that, by the time they come home from work, they are too tired for a story session or that the children are already in bed. If this is the case in your house, just do your best. Find those moments when a quick story can be read or even recited.
Start with nursery rhymes and nonsense songs when the kids are tiny. They love the rhythm of the words and this encourages them to remember and repeat the rhymes themselves.
Take your children to the library and let them choose books that appeal to them. Sit on the floor right there in the library and read with them.
When you read to your children, read with expression, funny voices, different speeds and volumes. The children will love listening to the “tune” of the story and will learn when to turn the page by the changes in your voice.
Discuss the pictures. Expose your children to a rich variety of words and expressions. Let them hear the variety and beauty of the language from an early age. Connecting and sequencing the images with the words helps build the skills necessary for reading independently. With older children, discussion encourages logical thought and exploration of concepts e.g. right/wrong.
Reading together is a wonderful bonding time for you and your child. The snuggled-up together experience of sharing a book is one of the most enjoyable parts of parenthood or grandparenthood.
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald