TW Viewpoint | Read to Your Children

June 19, 2019 | Winston Gosse

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"Winnie-the-Pooh looked around to see that nobody was listening, put his paw to his mouth, and said in a deep whisper: 'Honey!'" It has been said that "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." There is great value in reading, both for the parent and the child.

So how often do you read to your children?

As the father of three daughters reading was a regular occurrence, usually prior to bedtime but at other times as well. They looked forward to those occasions which also provided time for parental bonding and teaching in many ways.

This tradition of reading to them began at a very early age and continued on well into elementary school where they would oftentimes read back to my wife and I. Now our daughters have their own children and the tradition of reading continues with them.

Encouraging the love of reading at this early age will result in many measurable benefits.

Children who are read to are likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily. The principle of teaching young children for the purpose of establishing and enhancing them was direction given to ancient Israel's parents in the book of Deuteronomy You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

According to an article written by Jeff Grabmeier of the Ohio State News, titled: "A "million word gap" for children who aren’t read to at home"

"Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than kids who were never read to, a new study found."

And according to Jessica Logan, assistant professor of educational studies at Ohio State University and lead author of the study referred to by Grabmeier, states that "this million word gap could be one key in explaining differences in vocabulary and reading development." She goes on to say "Kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school."

The study also showed that the vocabulary word gap is different from the conversational word gap and may have different implications for children.

She goes on to say, "This isn't about everyday communication. The words kids hear in books are going to be much more complex, difficult words than they hear just talking to their parents and others in the home."

So the results of this study focus on the importance of reading to your children and exposing them to a varied vocabulary' it's simply good for children and the earlier you read to them the better! Another study conducted at the University of Melbourne cites the value of reading in the development of cognitive skills.

Their research article titled "Reading to Young Children: A Head-Start in Life" states that cognitive skills are influenced by a number of factors including "parental efforts"; simply being involved in their development.

The study found that the most effective period for developing your child’s cognitive skills is early on and up to the age of 10–11. They simply term it "early-life intervention."

So when in the evening your child asks you to read them a bedtime story don't refuse but instead remember it is a very important role for you as a parent in the development and educational performance of your child.

You in fact are helping them to expand their world and their love of reading.

As the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis stated:

"There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all."

The benefits are truly great!!

Watch Read to Your Children on YouTube at Tomorrow's World Viewpoint