Ok, anyone who knows me knows that I have a hard time keeping secrets – especially when they are exciting. I am bursting at the seams to announce my partnership with Compton Heights Christian Church and Isaiah 58 Ministries to start a reading program for our preschool neighbors! The details have yet to be ironed out but it will be concurrent with the afternoon worship service that Isaiah 58 is beginning in January. We will be looking for volunteers to be trained and background checked (necessary for working with children) and available to read for about 30 minutes once a week. I will be personally asking some of you when the times and dates are really nailed down, but with you and the board/church members of Compton Heights Christian, I think we can begin small and simple and see where it goes!
There are many studies and articles that expound upon the benefits of reading to children, but I thought these points summed it up nicely:
Secret to Success
In March 2013, the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research introduced research that showed that children four to five years of age who are read to three to five times a week are six months ahead of their peers in terms of reading acumen. Those children who are read to daily are a year ahead of those who are read to less frequently. ”It does appear to be the case that children who are read to more often keep doing better as they age than other children,” Guyonne Kalb of the Melbourne Institute told The Age newspaper when the study he co-authored was released.
Rich Vocabulary Equals Advantage
Educator Jim Trelease notes that there is a clear difference between conversing with a child and reading to him or her. As he points out in his book “Read-Aloud Handbook,” speech is full of jargon, colloquialisms and truncated sentences. Literature, on the other hand, is much more intricate and therefore vastly more educational. “The language in books is very rich, and in books there are complete sentences. In books, newspapers, and magazines, the language is more complicated, more sophisticated. A child who hears more sophisticated words has a giant advantage over a child who hasn’t heard those words,” Trelease says.
Teaching by Example
“A child who has been read to will want to learn to read herself. She will want to do what she sees her parents doing. But if a child never sees anyone pick up a book, she isn’t going to have that desire,” Trelease points out in a conversation with GreatSchools.org. Reading increases a child’s attention span and a parent’s own cognitive ability, the best-selling author says. It is one of the most essential and valuable activities kids can inherit from parents simply by observing them being engrossed in a book or magazine. Knowing how many habits children pick up from grown-ups around them, reading is one activity parents should aim to get caught doing in front of their kids.
Boosting Self Esteem and Communications Skills
Early readers will be armed with the vocabulary necessary to communicate to their peers, teachers, and parents. Education provider Gemm Learning says children who have the ability to find the words they want to use are more likely to have a strong self-image, sense of confidence, and higher academic standing. Also, well-read kids are more likely to attempt to formulate their thoughts before becoming angry or demonstrative. “With more knowledge comes more confidence. More confidence builds self-esteem. So it’s a chain reaction. Since you are so well-read, people look to you for answers. Your feelings about yourself can only get better,” Gemm Learning says.