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One of Your Most Important Jobs as a Parent: Reading

Updated on January 9, 2014
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Reading Before Birth and Beyond

Reading to your baby should start before your baby is even born. Your baby loves to hear your voice. It is calming. Reading to your child also familiarizes them with language and speech development.

No child is too young to listen to you read. Children are naturally curious. They love to look at pictures and hear creative stories.

No matter how young or old your child is, there should be time set aside every day to read together. Studies show that children who are read to every day grow up to be faster and stronger readers than those who don't. That seems like a simple fact. Of course, children who are read to everyday read faster and stronger than those who don't. However, I personally, don't believe that parents know how true and imperative that fact is.

As a kindergarten teacher, on the first day of school, I can tell exactly who is read to everyday and who is not. Children who are read to everyday will be more confident readers; they have advanced vocabulary skills. They enjoy books and learning new things. They also come in more academically prepared in all content areas. They have learned through each book they have read. They have gained facts, background knowledge and interest in certain topics. The children who were not read to everyday come into my classroom already behind. They do not have strong letter recognition and sound skills. They do not enjoy books as much as the other children; they become frustrated easily during reading.

Some children, who are read to everyday do not need formal "reading" skills to be taught to them. They learn to read through listening and looking. One day you will read to your child and the next they will read to you.

While I was in college I read a book called "Reading Magic" by Mem Fox. Every parent should read this book. It details the outcomes and benefits of children who are read to everyday.

Reading to your child every day is the best gift you can give to your child.

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What are the Benefits of Reading?

Building Relationships

  • bonding time

Communication Skills

  • language and speech acquisition
  • increased vocabulary

Exposure to Basic Reading Skills

  • holding a book right side up
  • turning pages
  • following from left to right
  • letters, words and sentences

Background Knowledge

  • increased knowledge on different topics
  • curiosity to learn more and ask "why"

Enjoyment

  • reading is fun
  • it is calming

Attention Span

  • increased attention span
  • increased listening skills

Read Quality Literature

If you don't find a certain book enjoyable, neither will your child. There are so many fantastic children's books, don't waste your time reading a bad one!

Have your child be a part of choosing a book. Find topics that interest you both. Find topics that your child might relate too (feelings, toilet training, separation anxiety, etc.)

Going to the library together is a free and fun outing. Even making time once a week to pick new library books will keep your child more engaged in reading.

Here is a list of my personal favorites (in no particular order)

"Llama Llama Red Pajama" Anna Dewdney

"Swimmy" by Leo Lionnni

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle

"Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown

"Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" by Mo Willems

"A Chair for my Mother" by Vera A Williams

"Caps for Sale" by Esphyr Slobodkina

"Curious George" by H.A Rey

"Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day" By Judith Viorst

"Where the Wild Things Are" By Maurice Sendak

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" by Judy and Ron Barrett

"Pinkalicious" by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann

"Fancy Nancy" by Jane O’Conno

"Blueberried for Sal" by Robert McCloskey

"The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister

"The Mitten" By Jan Brett

"Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse" by Kevin Henkes

"Stellaluna" by Janell Cannon

"If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" by Laura Joffe Numeroff

.... Along with countless others!

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