I Once Was Clueless about the Power of Reading Aloud

Posted on Posted in Blog, Raising Readers, School Me on Research

I Once Was Clueless about the Power of Reading Aloud

 
Do you think it’s silly to talk to babies? Or perhaps read something other than picture books to them?  When I had my first job it was in an ice cream shop.  Winters were slow, like really slow.  During this time of year the owners, who really only showed up in the morning to open the store and at night to count the money, would sometimes bring in their long awaited grandson.  Some times during the few hours they would be there the grandmamma owner would read to him.  Which is not unusual you know? But what caught me off guard was the fact that she would talk to him, when he was just one and two, and ask him about the book, as if he could understand every word she said. 
“Do you see the bunny?  What color is it?”
“Where does the bunny live? It’s called a fo-rest”
“Aww, look at the bunny’s face, he looks saaaaaad”
I would think to myself, look at all of those wasted words.  That boy has no clue what she’s saying.  Turns out grandmamma owner had the clue, it was me who was clueless.
 The Early Care in Education Consortium (ECEC) released a report in August of this year detailing the importance of introducing and igniting a passion for words and reading in children from infancy to three years of age.  There are many benefits of reading as early as infancy.  Reading aloud to infants exposes them to:
  • An expanded vocabulary
  • Sentence structure and syntax (arrangements of words in a sentence, i.e. subject, verb, grammar)
  • Thinking about images, concepts and ideas
  • Phonemic awareness (understanding sounds, i.e. ‘b’ make what sound?, ‘b’ is for boy, brave)
  • Phonological awareness (understanding syllables and letter combinations)
  • Print awareness or familiarity with the idea that text suggests meaning. 
Studies show that infants who are faster at recognizing familiar words at 18 months have larger vocabularies at age two and score higher on standardized language assessments in kindergarten and elementary school.  Additionally, it’s important that boys and girls become comfortable with the use of words as children who read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade are more inclined to graduate high school and have financial well-being.   
I am so thankful that I witnessed grandma owner reading books with her grandson.  I  am also grateful that my mama somehow made me believe that my library card was just as special, if not more, than an American Express card with no limit.  I believe these two experiences allowed me to not be completely clueless about the importance of reading to my children when they were little.  I will say that out of my three my son was the only one reluctant to believe that he could be a great reader, a lover of words.  Thankfully I was able to prove him wrong. Fingers and toes crossed that it stays this way. 

 

How often do you read aloud to your little ones or big ones?

 

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