Parents always ask me: How do I get my kid to be a better reader? What can I do to help them? While there are many intervention strategies I can give parents, the one I wish I could give them is a time machine. Because I want them to go back to when they were babies. Not when they were in Kindergarten or Preschool, but babies. Like a week old. Because honestly, starting to think about becoming a good reader at the age of kindergarten is already too late.
And actually, it doesn’t just have to be books. The main thing I would tell parents would be: Talk to your children. Let them experience what a conversation is. When they start to babble, give them a chance to babble and then respond to them.
Check out the following information from Upworthy about the science behind talking to your children.
Why Talking to Babies Is An Investment Worth Making
Did you know that the learning process for kids starts way before kindergarten? And even before pre-school? Babies are actually learning all the time, so how we talk to them is really important because it is literally helping their brains grow!
Unfortunately, kids born in poverty often do not get the interaction needed to promote that kind of brain growth. As a result, they end up hearing 30 million fewer words on average in their earliest years compared to kids born into wealthier families.
And once you’ve mastered the art of talking to your children, reading to them gives them even more of an advantage.
Reading Stimulates Language
(Originally published in American Baby magazine, Updated 2010.)
When you read to your kid, you're interacting with her and allowing her to hear the rhythm of your voice. Plus, you're exposing her to many words that don't typically come up in everyday life. For instance, when was the last time you said "hippopotamus" in casual conversation? And not only is she exposed to more words, she's introduced to different word orders: Is it a unicorn? It is a unicorn! Studies show that children who are read to have greater language comprehension and a more expressive vocabulary. Getting tired of reading Goodnight Moon ? You don't necessarily have to read every word of a book for it to be beneficial. As you go through the pages, talk about the pictures, point out the colors and objects, and ask questions about the various scenes.
So don't wait! Babies are never too young to hear great literature or have a conversation with!
9/7/2014 10:49:12 pm
Mandy, I will NEVER grow tired of pictures of that precious dude of yours. Have been reading to my kids since BEFORE they were born (actually did my daily Bible reading aloud when I was pregnant with my first - on purpose :D). Reading is such a gift to them - and to me. I still look forward to reading to them - and my oldest is 13!
9/8/2014 02:26:37 am
Thanks Mandy! Investing in our children's literacy begins at day one. I'd like to add that all that baby 'conversation' also contributes to a healthy emotional intelligence and healthy relationships.
9/8/2014 07:43:24 am
I always enjoy your posts, Mandy. I too was a big proponent of early reading to my kids. It helped tremendously when it came time for them to learn themselves.
9/8/2014 12:15:35 pm
This article is SO true. I had my son's name posted on the fridge from the first day he came home from the hospital. Every morning I would sing the letters of his name to him. I would read two-three books every day to him. And one day, at fifteen months, he was lying on my chest and looked over toward the bookshelf. He pointed to Eric Carle's "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" book and said "Brown Bear". From that day on he tried to say certain words that I read to him, and today at 6 years old he's reading like a kid two-three years older than him. It makes a big difference.
9/10/2014 08:39:02 am
Thank you, Mandy, for sharing the importance of helping children to learn at an early age. I read to my daughter from babyhood on up. She loves books like her Mom and we have enjoyed sharing over the years.
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We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break