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.
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.
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…”
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?