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Reading Readiness… the Importance of Reading to Children

Reading Readiness… the Importance of Reading to Children

It has been said time and time again that it is never too early to start reading to a child. Reading to children is one of the most important activities to prepare them for learning to read.

One study suggested that in order to prepare a child for reading the desired amount of reading one-to-one time was 1,000 hours!

That works out at about 40 mins per day of reading time… if you begin from age 1 to age 5.

I probably achieved this with my daughter. And as far as she is concerned it worked! The boys have not received he same amount of one-to-one reading time, for a combination of factors. The Jedi Boy would not sit still that long at such a young age! And quiet simply, it’s harder to find the time when you have more children.

So although the 40 mins is desirable, it is not always achievable. Here are some ideas for homes with many children, not enough hours, or with children who will not sit for that long!

    1. Read books at different times in the day. You do not need to read book after book in one sitting until you have achieved 30-40 minutes. Space books out throughout the day. Remember the idea is for children to find the experience enjoyable!
    2. When things are beginning to get out of control read a quick book, it can have a great calming effect, particularly when the reason for bad behaviour is tiredness.
    3. Have older children read to younger children. This is good practise for older children, and makes them feel grown up, it also helps to build bonds between siblings.
    4. Something is better than nothing. Find books that interest the child, and build on that foundation. A little is better than nothing, and can be added to as the child’s ability to stay focused and concentrated grows.
    5. Create a text rich environment. Children who are surrounded by books, and who see reading as “normal”, tend to read more quickly.
    6. Have family reading times. Read a book to all the children at the same time, choose simple chapter books, and do as much or as little as younger children can listen to. Very young children will still pick up on the reading experience.

Lastly, the at home environment is the best place to develop reading readiness. Schools and nurseries try to recreate the at home environment for young children in order to promote learning and facilitate reading readiness. How blessed is the child who receives this at home naturally.

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