March is National Reading Month and it’s the perfect time to encourage your children to read even more. Reading aloud to a child is the single most effective thing you can do to prepare him or her to succeed in school, according to the Primrose Schools newsletter.
When you read aloud to children, it stimulates language and cognitive skills, and builds motivation, curiosity and memory. It helps children build an appreciation for books as a source of entertainment, fun, and information. When you begin reading to children at a young age and encourage them to read, they typically learn faster than kids who aren’t exposed to reading and books at a young age.
Ann Richter of Primrose School at Twin Hickory agrees, “Reading to children when they are young helps them for the rest of their lives. It spurs growth and creativity in children and they have fun in the process.”
Kindergarten and other elementary school teachers all know the value of children who are read to at an early age. The Primrose Schools’ newsletter points out that “books contain more vocabulary than children typically encounter in spoken language. When you consider 50 percent more words appear in books than primetime television or even in college students’ conversations, it’s easy to recognize why reading aloud is important.”
The facts from the National Education Association (NEA) confirm that young children who are read to, have an advantage when they start school over children who are not read to. According to the NEA, children who are read to frequently from a young age are:
- more likel to recognize letters of the alphabet (twenty-six percent of children who were read to three or four times a week by a family member recognized all the letters of the alphabet)
- more likely to count to 20 or higher than those who were not read to(60% vs. 44%),
- more likely to write their own names (54% vs. 40%),
- and are most likely to read or pretend to read (77% vs. 57%).
This makes a significant difference in how well a child performs academically, emotionally, and creatively.
Earl Martin Phalen, CEO of Reach Out and Read, offers these tips for reading with children:
- Make reading part of your daily routine. Make it part of your nightly bedtime ritual, or find a special time in the afternoon to share a story.
- Talk about the pictures or ask your child to describe what they see in them. You don’t have to read the book to tell a story.
- Let your child turn the pages. Babies need help to turn pages, but your three-year-old can do it alone.
- Point to the words as you read. Run your finger under the words as you read them.
- Choose books that your child can relate to. Select books that relate to what is happening in your child’s world — starting preschool, going to the dentist or moving to a new home.
- Show your child the cover page. Use it to explain what the story is going to be about.
- Make the story come alive. Create different voices for each character.
- Take advantage of your local library. Sign your child up for a library card and make frequent trips to the library to check out books. You can expose her to thousands of (free!) children’s books. Check to see if the library offers story hours or special events!
You can learn more about reading out loud to children, and find valuable tips on selecting the most effective books for kids of all ages through Reach Out and Read. Reach Out and Read is a national evidence-based nonprofit organization. They promote early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children, and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.
As we celebrate National Reading Month, take time to encourage children to read by sitting down with a good book for some quality time together.
Be sure to review our recent article from Primrose Atlee Commons where the children celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday and reading all in one fun-filled day.
For more about reading or to contact a Primrose School near you:
Primrose School of Atlee Commons
9650 Atlee Commons Drive
Ashland, Va 23005
Primrose School at Ironbridge Corner
11351 Iron Creek Road
Chester, VA 23831
Primrose School of Twin Hickory
4801 Twin Hickory Lake Drive
Glen Allen, VA 23059
Primrose School at Westerre Commons
3855 Westerre Parkway
Henrico, VA 23233
Primrose School of Midlothian at Waterford
13300 Tredegar Lake Parkway
Midlothian, VA 23114
Primrose School of Midlothian Village
13801 Village Place
Midlothian, VA 23114
Primrose School of Swift Creek
4750 Brad McNeer Parkway
Midlothian, VA 23112
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