The benefits of reading to children is severalfold. As young children, we are comforted by the calm voices of our parents and the physical contact received while being read to. The initiation of reading develops a bond between parent and child.
As your children develops, you can introduce them to picture books, nursery rhymes, easy readers, and various transition books, which help expose them to many academic, psychological, and life principles.
PARENTAL – CHILD ATTACHMENT
A major area of concern in today’s society, is the phenomenologically increase or lack of parental-child attachment. We live in a society that has become so technologically savvy, that we are beginning to loose our personal intimacy with one another.
Attachment begins in the early stages of development. It is an emotional and physical interconnection that occurs when mother and/or father and child have an opportunity to bond. The bonding occurs through physical touch, comforting, playing, verbal and nonverbal communication, and intentional and/or unintentional affection.
The benefit of reading is that you are purposefully paying attention. You are offering a gentle voice and soothing embrace while reading your chosen literature. Therefore, children have a greater propensity of bonding with their parental caregiver.
Reading aloud with children provides them both the auditory, as well as, the visual recognition of the human language. When we read aloud to young children, we should intentionally be enthusiastic, engaging, interactive, interesting, seeking to captivate their childlike imagination.
“Children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading books aloud to children stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world.” (RIF, 2012, Online) It is our imagination that facilitates new ideas, explorations, concepts, images, problem solving, critical thinking, and the very essence of the human potential. (RIF, 2012, Field, 2010)
According to the American Association of School Librarians, reading aloud to children offers the following benefits:
• Children’s self-esteem grows as they experience the security of having a parent or other caring person read aloud with them.
• Children experience increased communication with parents and other family members.
• Children are introduced to new concepts such as colors, shapes, numbers, and alphabet, in a fun, age appropriate way.
• Children build listening skills vocabulary, memory, and language skills.
• Children develop imagination and creativity.
• Children learn information about the world around them.
• Children develop individual interests in special subjects like dinosaurs, cats, or cars.
• Children learn positive behavior patterns and social values.
• Children learn positive attitudes towards themselves and others.
• Children learn the joy of reading! (AASL, 2012, Online)
BENEFITS OF READING
Reading is a source of liberation. Children who are taught to read early on, are commonly taught to communicate in other significant verbal and nonverbal ways.
Reading exposes children early on to communicative language. This early exposure to language could be considered a preventive force. If a child knows how to clearly express and communicate, then if a need arises, they will have a greater chance of vocalizing and expressing such need.
When parents read with their children, they are fostering the bonds of healthy interpersonal relationships. The benefits of reading are unequivocally positive.
THE FAILURE OF BEING TAUGHT TO READ MAY LEAD TO…
When there is a failure to read, there is an increase probability of life challenges. Research has shown statistically those who are incarcerated have a higher probability of being functionally illiterate, completely illiterate, and those having a variety of learning disorders is remarkable. (PPI, 2012; EDJJ, 2012) “Illiteracy and under-literacy among children is a serious public health problem… It is well-documented that dropping out of school is, in turn, a risk factor for substance abuse, involvement in violent activity, teen pregnancy, and other poor health practices.” (Silverstein, Iverson, & Lozano, 2002, et. al., p. 1)
While learning to read decreases the chances of antisocial behaviors, it cannot be blamed for all behaviors that are egregious in nature. Nevertheless, there is clear evidence that those in prison have a higher probability of having some sort of academic, psychological, and sociological problem. “Higher levels of literacy are associated with lower rates of juvenile delinquency, re-arrest, and recidivism.” (EDJJ, 2012, Online)
The failure of learning to read is not a guarantee that someone will live a life of crime. In fact, there have been many individuals to live lives filled with prosperity, fruitfulness, familial stability, and clear abundance of finances and lifestyles.
Individuals who have lacked the skills of reading have gone on to be pioneers of technology, industry, and business. Sir Richard Branson is one example of an individual who had challenges with reading, because of a brain-based type of learning disorder called, Dyslexia. Nevertheless, Sir Branson’s obstacles and personal nemesis became his personal roadmap to success. While Sir Richard Branson had challenges with reading, he is an exceptional example of someone who overcame his difficulties with reading.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!!!
It is never too late to learn to read!!! While the foundations of reading are laid in the formative years of development; it’s basic principles can be learned at any age. Since “reading is a prerequisite for almost all cultural and social activities,” (Moore, et. al., 1999, p. 3), it is important that we lay down our pride and begin learning the written art of communication.
For communication is the pathway to liberation. Even if, the written language feels like your own personal set of hieroglyphics; it is never too late to learn to master.
American Association of School Librarians, AASL (2012) How school librarians can assist you: Reading with your children. http://www.ala.org/aasl/aboutaasl/aaslcommunity/quicklinks/el/elread
Clark, C. & Rumbold, K. (2006) Reading for pleasure: A research overview Retrieved April 7, 2012 from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/collateral_resources/pdf/i/Reading_for_pleasure.pdf National Literacy Trust
Fields, J. (2010) How to grow new brain cells and outwit competitors. Retrieved April 8, 2012 from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/awake-the-wheel/201006/how-grow-new-brain-cells-and-outwit-competitors PsychologyToday
Golova, N., Alario, A. J., Vivier, P. M., Rodriguez, M., & High, P. C. (1999) Literacy promotion for Hispanic families in a primary care setting: A randomized, controlled trial. Pediatrics 103 (5), 993-997
The National Center on Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice, EDJJ (2012) Juvenille correctional education programs; The case for quality education in juvenile correctional facilities. Retrieved April 8, 2012 from http://www.edjj.org/focus/education/
Moore, D.W., Bean, T.W., Birdyshaw, D. & Rycik, J. (1999). Adolescent literacy: A position statement. International Reading Association.
Prison Policy Initiative, PPI, (2012) Education as crime prevention, Providing education to prisoners. Retrieved April 7, 2012 from http://www.prisonpolicy.org/scans/research_brief__2.pdf
Reading is Fundamental, RIF, (2012) Reach out and read for parents and educators. Retrieved April 8, 2012, from http://www.reachoutandread.org/parents/readingaloud/research.aspx
Silverstein, M., Iverson, L., & Lozano, P. (2002) An English-Language clinic-based literacy program is effective for a multilingual population. Pediatrics 109 (5), 1-6
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA