Lifestyles

Discovering the Early Years

Kim Verigin

For the Observer

Did you know you have the power to boost your child’s learning potential just by making books an integral part of your daily life? We know that reading to them is important but sometimes in our busy schedules and day to day routines reading to our children might get put to the side.

Perhaps after understanding some of the benefits your child receives from reading on a regular basis you will have a renewed sense for committing to reading with your child and on your own. Although there are many benefits to reading to children of all ages this list is comprised of the benefits targeting children of two to five years of age.

1. A stronger relationship. As your child grows from baby to toddler and gaining new found independence snuggle time is decreased. How do you gain back some of that lost snuggle time? Reading together. Reading becomes a nurturing activity of physical touch, a calm presence and interactive dialogue. This is where the bond between the two of you will grow and give your child a sense of well being and the feeling of being loved.

2. Academic excellence. Studies have shown that children who are read to on a consistent basis have a higher propensity for learning. Students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all areas of formal education. Studies have shown children who are read to every day are a year a head of those who are read to infrequently.

3. Learning basic speech skills. During the ages of two and five, your child is learning critical language and enunciation skills. By listening to you read your child is picking up the basic sounds that form speech. There is also a clear difference between conversing with a child and reading to him or her. Language in books is more complete, richer and more intricate than the common spoken word and therefore book language is more educational.

4. The basics of how to read a book. Your child will learn how to hold a book, know the front from the back, read from left to right, turn pages from left to right and know that pictures are separate from the words. These are all essential preliteracy skills.  5. Better communication skills. Witnessing character interaction in books coupled with contact with you your child is gaining valuable communication skills. They are more likely to express themselves and relate to others in a healthy way. It also enhances listening skills and imagination.

6. Build thinking skills. Children will be able to grasp abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, understand cause and effect, and utilize good judgement and become problem solvers. Your child will be able to relate parts of stories to his/her life and give it meaning. He/she will also learn the fundamentals of right and wrong.

7. Understand new experiences. As your child starts to encounter stressful situations and milestones such as going to school or the dentist, sharing a relevant story can ease their stress. Your child will understand his/her emotions are normal. Children can learn about new experiences, relationships and personalities in a safe place with someone they can trust.

8. Enhanced concentration and self discipline. Your child’s attention span will be very short when you start reading books. However, the more sittings you have with your child the longer his/her attention span will get, reading comprehension will improve, better self discipline, improved concentration and increased memory retention, all serving your child well upon entrance to school.

9. Teaching by example. Children tend to look to their parents and copy what they see. If a child sees his/her parents engrossed in a book, newspaper or magazine, they will be more likely to do the same. Reading is one of the most valuable activities a child can inherit from parents simply by observing them. Knowing how many habits your child picks up from you make sure you are caught reading.

10. Reading is fun. Children who are exposed to reading tend to view reading as fun and not an unpleasant task. They are also more likely to go to reading instead of TV or video games for entertainment as they grow older.

 

What now?

So now that you know how reading is beneficial to your child are you going to commit some time every day to read to him or her? The best way to do this is to find a time in your busy schedule and make it a part of your routine. One of the best times is just before bed when you want your child to settle down from the busy day and relax. It sets the tone for a dreamy night. As your children get older this routine of bonding by reading may turn into a bonding time of conversation and learning about their lives.

Another valuable way to fit reading in to your life is during your down time or waiting time. Many companies around Agassiz have adopted butterfly book bins for their waiting rooms. The books in these bins are meant for all ages. If you have a child and you are waiting to be served please look for the butterfly book bin and read to your child. This impromptu reading will benefit you and your child as well as those observing. If you have not finished the book and you want to read more take the book home and finish it there. These books are meant for you. When you are done you can keep the book, give it back to one of the butterfly bins all around Agassiz, or replace it with another one. Reading should be accessible to everyone. Lets all get caught reading!

- Submitted by Agassiz Harrison Early Years Committee

 

 

 

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