As a new mom, I started reading to my daughter at a very early age. At just a few months old, I would read my parenting magazines out loud or the daily newspaper, delivering the news in a “once upon a time – fairytale tone” – just so she could hear my voice. Now at four, she can’t seem to get enough.
Madeline is at the age where she is desperately trying to read and associating pictures with words. Bedtime reading has become a ritual and a trip to the library is a big event. As I read each new adventure, she listens intently on first delivery. I can’t say “the end” quickly enough before she gently takes the book from my hands and exclaims, “Now it’s my turn”- mimicking the storyline by matching the pictures with what she had just heard. Her rendition is even better than the first one.
Reading with your child is a gift that cost you nothing and means everything! I came across these stats about the positive impact reading has on a child’s development and thought I would share.
- Simple things like reading and telling stories to a child at 18 months are powerful stimuli for brain development in the early years. (Early Years Study Final Report: Reversing the Real Brain Drain, Government of Ontario, 1999).
- Reading to children more than once a day has a substantial positive impact on their future academic skills. In addition, research indicates children with early exposure to books and reading are better at performing mathematical tasks (National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, Statistics Canada, 1996-1997).
- Children aged 2 to 3 who are read to several times a day do substantially better in kindergarten at the age of 4 and 5 than youngsters who are read to only a few times a week or less. (National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, Statistics Canada, 1996-1997).
- Some experts say that for 80 per cent of children, simple immersion in reading and books will lead to independent reading by school age. (How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life, Paul Kropp, Random House Canada, 2000).
- Parents should pay careful attention to three potential reading slump times that can hinder a child’s reading development: when a child enters kindergarten; at grade 4; and when a child enters high school. (How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life, Paul Kropp, 2000).
Madeline’s little attempts at deciphering words in our daily routine are adorable. The other day after school, we emptied the mail box where she arranged the junk mail in a pile and announced in the most serious tone “OK, I’m going to read you what it says”. She picks up the real estate flyer first, holding it up at eye level and reveals its message… “Clean up your house”. Next, a pizza flyer. The message? “I’m hungry, let’s eat”. Her endearing attempts at word recognition continued throughout our evening with her picking up an empty popcorn box out of the recycling bin, tracing the word “buttery” with her index finger and sounding out the word slowly so that I can comprehend it… “pop-corn”.
I can’t help but laugh quietly to myself as I certainly don’t want to crush her enthusiasm. I encourage her “reading” to me as much as possible because before I know it, the tables will turn where she will be reading bedtime stories to me each night.