Grandmothers! Do you know how important reading is? No, I don’t mean the mamby pamby stuff that we do because it keeps the kids occupied for a time. I mean real reading. Real books that cause children to think, to learn and to try new things. This is the stuff geniuses are made of!
Jim Trelease is a retired school teacher. His research has become very important. He discovered that Phonics is the “how-to” mechanics of reading. But children tend to stop reading for enjoyment before they are even graduated. Our job is to instill the “want-to” joy of reading. His brochure “Why Read Aloud to Children?” is a great tri-fold primer to get started. The link is here.
Suzuki’s method of teaching violin is to have the kids listen to music over and over and over before they even touch a musical instrument. Trelease, without realizing it, says essentially the same thing. The child learns to speak by listening to words over and over. The child learns to read by listening to books read to him over and over.
Did you know that the children lose interest in reading for enjoyment about the same time the adults stop reading aloud to them? This happens about middle school. But this is when reading aloud SHOULD continue! Children read books at one level. But they understand books at about two levels higher. Reading upper level books gets the kids used to the different way the language works, and introduces new words they would never hear, otherwise.
Trelease cites the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study which found that those Kindergarten children who had been read to at least three times per week were at least twice as likely to score well in reading readiness. Did you know that a good childrens’ book is three times richer in vocabulary than the spoken word? Reading aloud gets those words into the kids.
The Huffington Post had an article about the American Academy of Pediatrics policy on promoting literacy. AAP wants Pediatricians to encourage parents to read aloud to their children, calling it critical they do so. Gramma Nettie can help by offering books that are designed for parents and grands to read to children of all ages.