It’s easy to underestimate how important reading is. As adults, we forget how much we read every day. Whether it’s a text message or the shelf at the supermarket, reading is an essential tool for living in this world of ours.
But surely reading is something that our child will learn in school. Do we really need to tackle it beforehand?
The answer is yes.
If you introduce your child to reading before they start school, you will be giving them a headstart on the other students. If they have the opportunity to look over your shoulder while you are reading it will help them recognise words before they start school. Believe me, they are not just looking at the pictures. They will look at the words too. Think of the extra confidence they will have when they know that they can recognise words that are meaningless to some of their peers.
Many books for children also contain useful morals and can educate your children in how to behave in social situations and give appropriate responses to conflict. Again, this can be a useful tool to learn before they start school, as then they will have strategies for dealing with children outside the family from their first day. Reading is also a fun way to learn about these social and moral issues, and the child stands a better chance of remembering these things than he or she would if you simply talked to them about it.
Also, reading with your child will nurture a bond between the two of you. Children enjoy the chance to sit next to Mum or Dad and listen to the soothing tone of their voice as they read to them.
Reading can also be helpful with other things. When I (Lynne Stringer) was toilet training my son, I bought a number of books with stickers of cars, trucks and other vehicles to place on each page. The books also contained a lot of information on the vehicles themselves.
As a result of spending hours with my son reading to him about cars and trucks and putting stickers on a page, by the time he started school his vocabulary and reading skills were far beyond those of his peers. If you try finding books like this on a subject that interests your child they will want to know more and it will encourage them to read just so they can learn.
While it’s hard to find time in our busy lives to read to our children, there are many benefits to doing so. Even if it’s just for ten minutes at bedtime every night, it will provide your child with a firm foundation for the future.