You want your children to do well in school. You want them to have academic excellence while fostering good language skills and practical knowledge. With the growing age of technology, you may rush out to buy the latest education software. Maybe that new Leap Frog program or other interactive reading games. Some may even think that these new technologies are the quickest, simplest, and most efficient way for a child to learn to read. However, there’s one simple thing a parent can do to improve a child’s vocabulary, knowledge, reading comprehension and overall school readiness: read to them.
Why You Should Read to Your Child
Reading aloud to children is simple, cheap, and one of the most effective ways to get them ready for school. By reading to your children, they will get a head start in their language and literary skills while making them more prepared for the education life than the average student. When reading to children, they pick up new words, increasing their vocabulary, and learn how to apply these words in life. Increased vocabulary is linked to increased reading comprehension which leads to better success in school.
Reading comprehension is very important because it effects all the other subjects your child will be exposed to. All classes, even math, have an element of reading in them which means that your child needs to be in a position to understand the material being presented. It’s not just about getting your child to read a book but giving them the ability to comprehend the world around them. An ACT study showed that only 51 percent of high school graduates are ready for college level reading. The students who aren’t ready have to attend extra classes and are more likely to drop out of school. Also, they have more trouble getting a job because their lack of reading comprehension hinders them.
What the ACT study showed is that students aren’t being brought through the school system in a way that provides success. There’s a gap that is due to a lacking ability to read at a high level. It shows that in order to improve comprehension, these students need to be more active in reading while younger. You should read to your child even before they go into school to avoid issues later in life. Reading is part of our everyday lives and reading to your child will enhance his or her skills in understanding not only school subjects but help for future success as well.
Reading begets more reading. By reading to your children at a young age, they develop a love of it. It creates a positive connection with reading which then makes them want to read on their own. With so many other entertainment options available, it can be easy for a child to push a book to the side. That’s why it’s so important to read to your children while they’re very young. You create a positive influence where they don’t see reading as hard or a chore but as a fun activity. Plus, students with better reading skills also communicate verbally more effectively.
What reading to your child also provides is a stronger parent-child bond. This private time with your child creates a connection. You both learn how to enjoy each other’s company and have fun doing something together. As a parent, you don’t what your child to be distant from you or not feel connected. Reading develops an essential link between you both that can lead to a better and stronger future relationship.
How To Get Your Child Involved in Reading
A great way to make sure that you’re child is enjoying you reading to them, is to involve them in it. Use a book with some good pictures in it and point to the picture that goes with the corresponding word. For example, if your reading about a duck and there’s a picture of a duck on the page then point to it while saying it. Then, have the child repeat back that word and congratulate them when they get it right. You’ll send positive reinforcers to your child’s brain that will develop into a love of reading. You can also try letting your child pick out the book he or she wants you to read them. Since they chose the book, they’re more likely to be involved in the story and want to enjoy it.
Also, reading to your child before bedtime is a great idea. There’s something soothing to children when their parents read to them. It has a calming a effect. When you read to your children before bed, they become more relaxed and sleep better. Not only will it help them sleep, but they’ll also pick up words and add them to their vocabulary. The act of reading to your child before bed develops a positive relationship with reading. Your child is also likely to form a stronger bond with you.
Don’t worry if your child keeps wanting you to read them the same book. This just indicates that they’re attached to the book and are probably trying to memorize the story, which is a very good thing. What you’re trying to do as a parent is not just help your child’s overall school readiness but create a positive connection with reading so that your child will keep doing it even without prompting.
What Type of Books to Read to Your Children
When children are young, they are curious about the surrounding world. They don’t know much about anything and tend to be eager to learn. Focus on books that have nature in them and other worldly items. Since children are already curious about what’s around them, they’ll be more likely to enjoy books about the world. Anything that deals with farms, homes, cities are a good bet. Also, make sure that the stories are simple. You don’t want something too complicated with sub-plots and twists because it’s hard for young children to grasp. Keep it simple to ensure a positive reaction.
An interesting fact discovered by Jim Trelease in his book, “The Read Aloud Handbook” is the positive connection between a child and the story of Mother Goose. He notes that one of the first things children become attached to is the beat of their mother’s heart. The story of Mother Goose follows a rhyme scheme and has a set flow. There is a beat to it which children connect to the beat of a heart. In the early years, look for these rhyming books to foster a love of reading.
What the Studies Say
The stats show that students in lower socio-economic situations tend to have lower vocabulary and less reading comprehension, though students in higher economic positions aren’t doing as well as they should be either. These stats do not mean that children in a lower financial state aren’t as smart or as capable. The way to help these students reach a higher reading level is simply by reading aloud to them, studies show. In different classrooms all across the country where children were read to, there was an increase in vocabulary and ability to comprehend text.
The studies also show the importance of reading the right book to the right audience. If the book is too difficult for children to understand, they’ll become disinterested and think reading is hard. If the book is too simple then they won’t take reading seriously enough. You want your child to be challenged enough with the reading that he or she improves and remains active but not so difficult that they give up.
Grab a Book and Read Aloud
As you can see, helping your child find success isn’t always about having the latest technology or drilling them with questions and tests. The simple ability to read to them aloud fosters a love of learning. Instead of children just reading because they’re told to, they read because they want to. Reading aloud sets them up for future success and makes them more knowledgeable people. You increase vocabulary and textual comprehension. Plus, you create a bond with your child that will carry into later years. What’s great about this tactic is that anyone, no matter of financial situation, can do it. Get a library card for you and your child and turn reading into a fun activity. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best and reading to your children is one of the best things you can do for them and yourself.