importance of reading to children

Magic Wishes for Early Learning #4: Access to Books for Kids

When parents were asked to share one magic wish for early learning, parent Catherine, hoped for more access to books for kids. Here’s an article for why this is so critical for early learning and development. Journalist and parent, Amy K. Williams explores some of the reasons in this guest post.

 

The Importance of Reading to Babies and Toddlers

access to books for kidsWe all know the importance of holding our babies, feeding them, bathing them, and basically meeting their every need. Reading to them has recently become recognized as one of those needs. Your first thought may be, why should I read to him before he can even talk (or hold his head up, for that matter)? But think about it.  We don’t wait until babies can speak before we talk to them. We sing to them long before they are capable of mimicking a lullaby. Studies have shown reading to them from a very early age is one of the best things you can do for your child  in terms of language and literacy skills, overall brain development and thinking skills, and establishing healthy social-emotional relationships.

When broken down even more specifically, reading aloud to your child teaches him about the world around him. It teaches him about communication with inflection and tone of voice, as well as building his vocabulary, listening, and memory skills. It also introduces important concepts such as letters, numbers, shapes, and colors in an appealing way. Even better, the more you read to them, the more you reinforce all of the above skills.

As a matter of fact, just hearing words aloud helps build a communication network in your baby’s brain.  By the end of his first year, he will have been exposed to all the sounds needed to speak his native language. Children who are read to regularly know more words by age two than their counterparts who have not been read to, and they are more likely to learn to read at the appropriate developmental time and do well in school.

access to books for kidsAdditionally, as you read to your child while snuggling them, you are building and strengthening the parent-child bond. The first two years of life are a critical period for child development in establishing literacy skills and nurturing the much-needed intersocial human connection. The American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.” Plus, your baby loves the sound of your voice and feeling you close. Listening to you read provides them cues for expressive sounds and different emotions, which promotes both social and emotional development. As baby gets older, he can point to pictures, mimic sounds, and even ask questions to further build thinking and comprehension skills.

access to books for kidsThe more you read to your kids, the more benefit provided. Whether you read them old classics passed down from your childhood, or new favorites of their own, they will reap the benefits by developing higher literacy and communications skills. Equally as important, they will come to connect reading with you to a sense of enjoyment and pleasure. This increases the likelihood of instilling strong literacy and language skills, as well encouraging them to become lifelong readers and learners.

amy-kristine-williamsAmy Kristine Williams is a free-lance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. She enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and is passionate about writing.  Thank you, Amy, for your guest blog on 123kindergarten.com.

 

How to Steal a March #2: Reading Books to Kids Builds Brain Power

One of the most important activities you can do at home before children go to school is to read books because reading books to kids builds brain power. Books are superfood for brains.

reading to kids builds brain power

How much reading do you have to do in a day? While some jobs are mostly hands-on, many ordinary tasks involve reading. Any important road signs you read on your way to work? Your phone may beep to remind you to do something, but you likely check text messages countless times a day. Picking up a few groceries involves reading. Now toddlers and preschool kids aren’t yet reading, but the challenge of learning to read is far, far easier on kids that have experience with books.

Let’s make a quick switch from words to numbers. If you read 5 books a day to your child a few times a week, that’s 25 books. In just a month, that’s 100 books and in a year, 1000. By the time your child gets to school, you have downloaded 5000 books into the brain’s computer. That’s like a library already there in your child’s brain. No wonder learning to read is so much easier for kids that have had lots of books from home.

reading books to kids
Have you heard the saying of “stealing a march on someone?” It means to gain an advantage. Kids who have had opportunities with books before they get to school “steal a march” on those who haven’t. There’s no doubt being a good reader is a tremendous advantage. Being a poor reader is a tremendous disadvantage and it can follow kids for a lifetime. So much so, that some research reports that government bases the size of prisons on the reading scores of third-graders. While this may not be accurate, it certainly underscores how difficult it can be not to read well.

In a day, we don’t have to wait until bedtime to read books. Try a wake-up story. Listen to a story in the car. Share a book while waiting in line at the bank. Waiting for the cookies to bake is just enough time to enjoy a book or two. In the bath, the book has to be an imaginary one; “Once upon a time, there was a dinosaur in the tub…”reading books to kids

Kids books are expensive, so also visit your local library and neighborhood garage sales. Reading books to kids builds brain power. How do you include them in your child’s day?

February Friendship #4: Kids Can Be Friends with Books

Kids can be friends with books, and that’s another very important one to have. This is friendship month and we can share some great books with kids.

kids can be friends with books

Eric Carle is one of my favorite children’s authors. A fairly recent one is Friends. This is the story of a two friends. To get together one of them swims a wide river, climbs tall mountains, hikes across a grassy field, and makes it through other places. Not all friends will connect at the end like the two do in this book, but the story shares the message that friends will go to great lengths for each other.

kids can be friends with books

Another fun book is Ollie’s Valentine, by Olivier Dunrea. There are several books in the series about the friends Ollie, Gossie, and others. These little animals turn even the ordinary into adventures. The stories give clues about how to be friends, like sharing and waiting. The surprise ending in this book includes children hearing and reading the story in the circle of friends.

a day of-play - reading

Being friends with books has amazing advantages for kids. Hearing stories over and over not only adds hundreds of words to vocabulary but millions of words to the brain’s language files. This increases the brain’s processing speed for language. Do you remember someone when you went to school who always had a hand up to answer questions faster than anyone else? This student may not have been any smarter than the rest, but could process the question faster.

importance of reading to children

One of the biggest tasks kids have at school is learning to read. By reading and sharing books and stories with your child, you make this much easier. Kids not only know how books work, they also know how print works. They understand the black lines and squiggles are the words we say marked down on a page. Reading is connecting these marks to what they mean. For a play-of-the-day, share any stories and books. What are some books that help so kids can be friends with books?

10 New Year’s Resolutions with Young Kids: #2-Books, Stories

Would you be smarter if you could download 1,000 books into your brain? Downloading 5,000 books into your child’s brain can be done in minutes a day. Reading to your child a few minutes every day is a super new year’s resolution. The following infographic shows how easy it is for just a few books … Continue reading 10 New Year’s Resolutions with Young Kids: #2-Books, Stories

Helping Kids Learn to Play Series: #8 Books

Helping Children Learn to Play with Books We don’t usually think of books as toys but they are great to play with, once children know how. For such toys as balls or blocks, children easily discover ways they can play, but for books, we need to participate with children many times. Playing with kids and … Continue reading Helping Kids Learn to Play Series: #8 Books

Help Get Kids Ready for Kindergarten by Reading

Series Part #8: To Help Kids Get Ready for Kindergarten Read and Share Books and Stories One of the most powerful ways to help kids get ready for kindergarten is to read and share books and stories. Many, many books and stories. The importance of books is not an exaggeration. In families that read stories … Continue reading Help Get Kids Ready for Kindergarten by Reading

Soccer, Soccer: Read All About It and Score!

Instead of paragraphs of reasons about why it’s so important to read to kids for early learning and brain development, here is a graphic ↓↓ that tells a few in just a quick glance. You can use all the excitement about soccer and find some some stories to share with kids of all ages.There are … Continue reading Soccer, Soccer: Read All About It and Score!

How To Grow A Library in Your Child’s Mind

Have you been following the campaign to bring back the much loved TV show Reading Rainbow? “Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high.” These were the starting lyrics and the underlying message for each episode was that with books, kids could “go anywhere and be anything.” But there was a message of … Continue reading How To Grow A Library in Your Child’s Mind

Edible Book Day? Not April Fool’s!

When reading about silly pranks today, I discovered that in some countries it was also Edible Book Day. At first I thought this was a really clever prank, but it’s been happening for 14 years around the world. Typically, it’s celebrated around April 1st and everywhere people get to “eat their words” as they enjoy … Continue reading Edible Book Day? Not April Fool’s!

Spring Grows All Kinds Of Learning For Kids

More than plants grow in Spring. Did you know that Spring can help grow children’s learning in math, science, language, kindergarten readiness, and more? While writing today’s blog post I found 2 bits of information that fit together like pieces of a puzzle. The first was a video from First 5 in California. During the … Continue reading Spring Grows All Kinds Of Learning For Kids