A lot of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and sometimes even educators do not understand the importance of reading. Children these days prefer video games, television and computers over books. Think back to when your son or daughter was a baby. Did you read to them? Did you talk to them on a regular basis? While most of us think that this is a ridiculous answer, a lot of parents don’t. When your son or daughter is 3 they are saying a lot, aren’t they? Can they read? Maybe some sight words at best. How is it that this is possible? A child’s listening comprehension comes before reading comprehension. They learn things from you; by listening to you or others. They learn to speak, understand and eventually speak because of what they are listening to. It’s best to limit television watching to less than 10 hours a week (Most kids spend 4x longer than that with the tube on.), and limit video games and non-educational computer usage.
It is important that you read to your child and/or students as early as possible. As time goes on they learn more and more because of what you were able to introduce them to. Will this automatically mean they will love to read? Not necessarily but it gives them the foundation to do well and learn. There are a few ways to get a child to hear of a book. You can Read Aloud, Story tell, or Book talk. Read Aloud is a technique that we are all familiar with. We read to our children. Story telling is a bit different. You aren’t really reading from a book. It’s a story you know pretty well. Think about it like this; you are driving to work and witness a 5 car pileup. When you get to work, you retell the events. This is an example of storytelling. It isn’t really scripted. Another prime example is Indian stories also known as the teachings. In Indian cultures, they pass down stories from generations to generations that aren’t written down in a book. The last is Book Talk. Say your child sees another child reading a book that looks interesting. They then approach the child and ask what it’s about. That child’s answer is an example of book talk. It is a way to get someone interested in reading. Using any of these techniques to get stories out there is wonderful.
Still thinking that there is no way that you can limit your child’s technological advances? Research shows that children that watch 10 or more hours of television a week will show school scores dropping. How can your child watch tv and fully comprehend the material in front of them?
Basically I am stressing that babies and children as well as teens need to be read to. We are introduced to emotions and empathy through story. Story is important to our daily lives. Why do we strive to do better every day? Most likely, you’ve heard a story about another person and how successful they were and that makes you want to do better. I encourage all of you to take 10-15 minutes a day and read something to your children. Let them see you reading for fun and they are more likely to think of reading as fun; even if it is just a newspaper or magazine. Associate reading and stories with fun and playful things so that they are more likely to like reading. I hope this brief post helps those of you that don’t read to your children to start reading to them. Let’s fight aliteracy(when someone can read, but chooses not to read) together!