why is it important for children to read
Reading, Literacy and Your Child
What is literacy? Literacy means being able to read and write. Why is reading important? A child's reading skills are important to their success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them. Reading and writing are important ways we use language to communicate. How do reading and language skills develop? For an answer to this question, check out the following link: from birth to three years this helpful brochure tells you what to expect and how to help. Research has identified five early reading skills that are all essential. They are  Phonemic awareness Being able to hear, identify, and play with individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. Phonics Being able to connect the letters of written language with the sounds of spoken language. Vocabulary The words kids need to know to communicate effectively. Reading comprehension Being able to understand and get meaning from what has been read. Fluency (oral reading) Being able to read text accurately and quickly. How can we make reading part of our family s lifestyle? Parents play a critical role in helping their children develop not only the ability to read, but also an enjoyment of reading. Turn off the tube. Start by viewing time. Teach by example. If you have books, newspapers and magazines around your house, and your child sees you reading, then your child will learn that you value reading. You can t over-estimate the value of modeling. Read together. Reading with your child is a great activity. It not only teaches your child that reading is important to you, but it also offers a chance to talk about the book, and often other issues will come up. Books can really open the lines of communication between parent and child. Hit the library. Try finding library books about current issues or interests in your family s or child s life, and then reading them together. For example, read a book about going to the dentist prior to your child s next dental exam, or get some books about seashore life after a trip to the coast. If your child is obsessed with dragons, ask your librarian to recommend a good dragon novel for your child. There are many ways to include reading in your child's life, starting in babyhood, and continuing through the teen years. Focus on literacy activities that your child enjoys, so that reading is a treat, not a chore. How do you read to a baby? Use small, chunky board books that your baby can easily hold onto. Talk about the pictures with your little one. Sing the text to keep baby's attention. Play peek-a-boo with lift-the-flap books. Help your baby touch and feel in texture books. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends daily reading to children beginning by six months of age. Where can I get ideas and resources for fun reading and literacy activities? a quick list arranged by age group. has lots of activities and ideas grouped by age group that you can use to help your young child (birth to age 5) learn about language and get ready to read. Get Ready to Read! and for toddlers and preschoolers. offers terrific, including activities, booklists, articles, brochures, and multicultural literacy resources. offers information and resources for families and professionals. is part of Reading Rockets, and offers information, activities and advice for Spanish-speaking parents and educators of English language learners. Tips for at different ages and stages, infant through age five. for parents. More on, from babies through teens What if my child is having trouble with reading? Some children have difficulty learning to read. You may hear from a teacher that your child has difficulty with language, or you may have noticed some difficulties that your child has.
When reading and language difficulties are identified, special teaching can be given to help your child reach their full potential. Here are some resources: YourChild: and YourChild: have information about reading problems and how to help your child. : Helping your child become a reader from the U. S. Department of Education. from Reading Rockets. , is an online book from the National Academies of Science (NAS). is also from the NAS. If you have questions about your child's ability to use language or read, please ask your pediatrician or school system to check that part of your child's learning. In Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, the (FLI) provides low income students who are performing below grade level a no-cost, supplemental academic program. Children can receive one-on-one reading instruction with a trained tutor. FLI was recently recognized for its excellent teen literacy program. What about parents who have trouble reading? Just as some kids have trouble reading, some adults do, too or may have never learned to read at all. In fact, one in five adults has real trouble reading. Is there an adult or family literacy program near me? There are many places for adults to find help. If you or a parent you know needs to learn to read better, here's how to find a nearby literacy program: To find a program in your area, go to, or call the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) Hotline at 1-800-228-8813 to speak with an English- or Spanish-speaking operator, or call 1-800-552-9097 TTD. Find your. Check with a neighborhood library, community college, or city or county human services office, or contact your state's to find out about other programs. To get help with your reading or writing skills, or to learn English, in your area. For family literacy programs, contact the in your state or the, whose phone number is 502. 584. 1133. In Spanish: Where can I find other resources related to kids and reading? , by Jim Trelease. A great book that looks at the research on reading and tells parents and educators what they need to know about reading aloud to kids. It includes all kinds of specific tips and strategies that you can start using right away, and a giant annotated list of recommended read-aloud books. A super way to get started with making books an important part of family life. is a national campaign to build the early literacy skills of preschool children. The campaign brings all kinds of resources including a screening tool and skill-building activities to parents and early childhood teachers and caregivers for helping prepare children to learn to read and write. (also in ) from the US Department of Education. a list of resources from the U. S. Department of Education. Books are grouped by type and intended age group. , from National Association for the Education of Young Children, offers excellent reviews of current children's books. The Children s Book Council offers for teachers, librarians, parents, and booksellers to discover new, wonderful books for the children in their lives. (ROR) programs seek to make early literacy a standard part of pediatric primary care. By following the ROR model, physicians and nurses counsel parents that reading aloud is the most important thing they can do to help their children love books and to start school ready to learn. is a parent guide for preschool through third grade from the Partnership for Reading (the National Institute for Literacy, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the US Department of Education). This resource offers information on how teachers help kids develop literacy skills, and how you can help your child at home. IS Rocket Science : What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able To Do. This is a booklet from the American Federation of Teachers that puts forth a roadmap for preparing teachers to teach children to read based on scientific research. at the Indiana University School of Education provides educational materials, services and coursework to everyone interested in language arts. contains information on major national research studies and literacy resources.
It lists practical, helpful publications and ordering information. Written and compiled by Kyla Boyse, RN. Reviewed by faculty and staff at the University of Michigan Reading aloud helps children acquire early language skills. Reading aloud is widely recognized as the single most important activity leading to language development. Among other things, reading aloud builds word-sound awareness in children, a potent predictor of reading success. "Children who fall seriously behind in the growth of critical early reading skills have fewer opportunities to practice reading. Evidence suggests that these lost practice opportunities make it extremely difficult for children who remain poor readers during the first three years of elementary school to ever acquire average levels of reading fluency. " Torgeson, J. Avoiding the Devasting Downward Spiral, American Educator. (2004) Reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also builds motivation, curiosity, and memory. Bardige, B. Talk to Me, Baby! (2009), Paul H Brookes Pub Co. Reading aloud stimulates language development even before a child can talk. Bardige, B. Talk to Me, Baby! (2009), Paul H Brookes Pub Co. Research shows that the more words parents use when speaking to an 8-month-old infant, the greater the size of their child's vocabulary at age 3. The landmark Hart-Risley study on language development documented that children from low-income families hear as many as 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers before the age of 4. Hart, B. Risley, T. Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children (1995), Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Reading aloud helps children develop positive associations with books and reading. The nurturing and one-on-one attention from parents during reading aloud encourages children to form a positive association with books and reading later in life. Reading aloud is a proven technique to help children cope during times of stress or tragedy. Reading aloud helps children build a stronger foundation for school success. "What happens during the first months and years of life matters, a lot, not because this period of development provides an indelible blueprint for adult well-being, but because it sets either a sturdy or fragile stage for what follows. " J. S. Shonkoff D. Phillips, Eds. , From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development (2000), Washington D. C. ; National Research Council The Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press. Once children start school, difficulty with reading contributes to school failure, which can increase the risk of absenteeism, leaving school, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy - all of which can perpetuate the cycles of poverty and dependency. Reading aloud in the early years exposes children to story and print knowledge as well as rare words and ideas not often found in day-to-day conversations or screen time. Reading aloud gives children the opportunity to practice listening - a crucial skill for kindergarten and beyond. In 2008, some of Reach Out and Read's Medical Champions published an article in the Archives of Disease in Childhood that provides an overview of key research on reading aloud to young children, and its influence on children's language and literacy development. Read the article - called "Reading aloud to children: the evidence".
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