Kids Who Read Succeed
Parents want children to succeed in life, to do their best in school so they will be prepared for a strong future. One of the most important things we can do to help our children succeed in school is easy, fun, and free -- read to them every day, starting when they are just babies.
In a ground-breaking report, Becoming a Nation of Readers, the National Commission on Reading concluded that "reading aloud by parents is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading." A quarter-century later, experts still feel that reading aloud to children is a better way to help kids learn to read themselves than using computer games or electronic toys. Unfortunately, surveys show that fewer than half of parents with children younger than 3 years read to their children every day.
Children exposed to lots of books during their early childhood will have an easier time learning to read than those who are not. One study found that if a child has difficulty reading in first grade, it is likely that he or she still will be having trouble in fourth grade, when children must read in order to learn. Another study showed that a child who is not a moderately skilled reader by the end of third grade is unlikely to graduate from high school. Therefore, not reading aloud to a child beginning in infancy makes it harder for a child to learn to read as he or she gets older and makes it even tougher to catch up later.
Since reading is so important, here are some tips to help you encourage your child to read:
Read books with your child every day.
It is never too early to begin reading with your child! Babies love hearing the sounds of their parents' voices reading to them, whether it is the newspaper, a cereal box, or a story.
Young children have short attention spans, so try reading for short periods of time, several times every day. Nursery rhymes are perfect for babies and toddlers.
Most children, even babies, have favorite books. They love to hear you read the same book over and over again.
Choose stories that you like, too. Have fun when reading, and share your enthusiasm about the book with your child. Not sure where to start? Jim Trelease and Rob Reid recommend selections for reading aloud in their books, The Read Aloud Handbook and Reid's Read-Alouds : selections for children and teens.
Read out loud from everything, even shopping lists, road signs and bills, to show your children how important reading is to you. Children model their behavior on what they see their parents doing, so if they see you reading, they will want to read, too.
Get a library card for your child and visit regularly. Make time for exploring the riches to be found in books on the library shelves, and encourage your child to do the same.
Ask school-aged children to read to you, and then discuss what you have read. You can also ask about books they have read in school.
The bottom line: Read, read, and then read some more every day. Kids who read, succeed! Start now with the Library’s first at-home Winter Reading program, Snuggle with a Book, for parents and children ages birth through 11. Parents read to their children, record the books in a log, and enter the log in drawings for prizes. For more information about Snuggle with a Book or suggestions for good reads for any age, visit www.tcplweb.org or call 988.2541.