Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Value of Reading

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Have you all heard the push to read to your child 20 minutes a day? I am sure you have, especially if you ever watch PBS!

I have read to both of my kids from birth. I find it to be so important and valuable. My parents read to me, and I am sure I am a smarter person because of it. I love to read, I know how to read, I feel comfortable reading, and I turn to books to find answers (everything from scripture to parenting advice).

First, let me offer the disclaimer that I earned a BS majoring in English, with an emphasis on Technical Writing. So of course I love reading and of course I think it is valuable.

I was shocked a few months ago when a friend of mine had a son starting Kindergarten. He was her first child in school. They require parents to read to their child for at least 20 minutes every day. She was saying what a challenge it was to fit that in. I was shocked that it wasn't already part of their day! Her son is a really smart kid and does great with his schoolwork, but I am sure there is value being added to his life now that he reads every day.

There is no real way to know for sure the benefits of reading because you can't take the same kid in a controlled environment and read to him, then put him back to the same age and not read and see what happens. At best, findings are good guesses. I am just saying I think it is of great worth.

We go to the library every two weeks and get a load of new books to read. We also own a lot of books. Both of my kids LOVE books. It is a wonderful time to cuddle. It is a great way to wind down. It is an effective time to learn. Brayden knew his ABCs on sight long before he turned two. He has phenomenal verbal skills, both for a boy his age and for a child his age. He gets to see so much more of the world through books then he ever could day to day. I am not saying I want his entire life to be lived through books, but a chunk of time each day is so valuable. Kaitlyn squeals in delight every time I open a book (incidentally, a book is a great way to keep your baby/toddler occupied while they need to be quiet--like at church).

So I implore you to make reading an important part of your day. I just can't see you ever regretting you did so.

7 comments:

atara said...

I would also add to this singing. My little one, although only three months old, doesn't really care for me reading to him. However, when I sing he is all ears.

Plowmanators said...

Thanks for your comment Atara. I am very big into singing also :)

Grant's mommy said...

I'm hoping I've picked the perfect spot to ask this question! I'm a BabyWise mom with much success. I have a happy and healthy 7.5 month old. I was an English major for several years, but ended up getting my degree in Communications. Regardless, I KNOW you have all seen these Your Baby Can Read ads on TV or at least heard about the program. I would love to know other BabyWise moms' thoughts, especially from those who have knowledge of "whole word" learning and the pros and cons, etc. I'm truly curious about this program, not to advance my child or rush his learning, but because like BabyWise, it's a very controversial program. Instead of immediately dismissing it as ridiculous, I reminded myself that the average bear believes that BabyWise is extreme (those not fortunate enough to reap its rewards!), and I'm hoping to hear the thoughts of like-minded mothers on this topic. By the way, my great-aunt wants to buy it for my little guy. It's just under $200. The site is yourbabycanreadtv.com. Other than what the ads and my limited online research have yielded, I don't have much more information. Thanks!!!

Jaime said...

Grant's mommy...I've seen the program that you are talking about and even have some friends who have purchased it. I was an education major in college and took advanced courses in behavior modification and can tell you that the program WILL work. Your baby will learn to read if you follow it. HOWEVER, I will NOT be purchasing the program for my 6-month-old son for the very reason you referenced. It teaches babies to read "whole words" or "site words." While this, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing, a child will only truly learn to read by learning phonics. Us Babywise moms know that you "begin as you mean to go." I don't want to teach my son that learning to identify specific words by site is actually reading. It lowers expectations and trains his brain in the wrong direction. At least that is my opinion, for what it's worth!

Plowmanators said...

Grant's Mommy, sorry! I never saw your question! I think Jaime has some excellent points. I haven't ever done the program and wouldn't even consider it. I am one who believes normal life teaches baby best. I don't do flash cards or anything like that. Just interaction with mom and family. Brayden is 4.5 and reading simple books. I think Kaitlyn will be earlier. So they are doing great without it!

Tom and Steph said...

For Grant's Mommy and others: I live overseas and have purchased the Your Baby Can Read program. My sister is an early childhood educational consultant for people living and working outside their home culture. She says she NEVER recommends early reading programs as they make the child out of sync with his peers and the reading material for the rest of their education. Why create that problem?? However, she recommended that we consider the program for two reasons: 1. my daughter knew all letters and sounds by 2 years 2. she was going to be in a local-language school learning to read and write the second language before doing so in English. In cases like this, my sister said a young child who is ready to read does not need to launch on a formal reading program. The YBCR program is general enough and laid-back enough that a younger child can get some sense of English. In my sister's experience, it is essential to ground a child in their mother tongue before getting formal education in a second language. Hope this makes sense...I've just had baby #2 which is why I'm on this blog after midnight!

Unknown said...

I'm too a big believer in reading to your kids. My 3.5 yr daughter LOVES books and it came very naturally. However, I cannot get my son (now 14 months) to be interested. I've tried from the very beginning and he just has no interest in books! All he wants to do is flip the pages. I tried all kins of different books, with texture, pictures only, rhymes, etc. Nothing! He closes the book and gets off my lap. Any advice on how to get him interested?

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