Teaching your baby to read at a very young age is one of the best ways to allow your child to begin learning independently. Parents who start to teach reading to their babies at an early age is embarking on a crucial stage in their babies' mental development. You will learn that when you teach reading to your baby early, you will improve your child's chances in excelling later in life.
Excelling In School
Teaching your baby to read, and doing so in a fun and pleasurable way, will stimulate your child's brain and help to develop a more sophisticated neural circuitry. Parents who did introduce reading early noted that their children were more likely to excel in their school activities as well as enjoy learning more. This is partly because the children's early reading experience has given them an invaluable ability for word recognition. But more to the point, it has cultivated other higher order thinking skills, such as the use of symbols, which are powerful tools for children to leverage on in their learning at school.
These children who were taught to read as a baby were also observed to have higher self-esteem and confidence levels than those whose parents did not encourage reading to. They tended to have a keener mind, and learn new things very quickly. These are not merely subjective testimonials by parents with vested interests. In fact, scientific research has given credence to these observations. One study by Dolores Durkin entitled Children Who Read Early: Two Longitudinal Studies (1966), showed that not only did the 3-to-5-year-olds who were taught to read early retain a significantly higher reading level than their peers. What's more, 6 years on, these children continued to enjoy an advantage over those who started reading later.
The Reading Curve
There are a few studies that show that children's natural aptitude for reading begins to slow down around the age of 4 years. These same studies found that as a child grows, the task of learning to read becomes progressively more difficult and tiresome. This means that teaching your baby to read at a later age like 5 is doing your child a certain disservice. Your child would have missed the golden opportunity whereby reading is best and most naturally experienced --- the first four years when the brain is processing its first concepts.
Common sense will tell us that should we leave the teaching of reading until a child enters formal school, then the general learning of the child would be hampered by his inability to read. Imagine this: While other children are busy trying to learn how to read in school, your child who has already learned to read would, instead, be consolidating what he already knows from experience. While other children are struggling with individual words, your child is already confidently breezing through one storybook to another. Your child need not be subjected to the confusion and frustration, which his peers are undergoing. Reading is now an area of strength for your kid.
Learning To Read Well
A child may know how to read. But how well can the child read? Two children could very well know how to read, but could, in fact, be reading at really different levels. The key question is whether a child is able to understand and absorb written information. Thus, learning how to read is just a first step. The next more important step is learning to read well, and that comes with more practice and instruction. This is crucial because a child's reading level is determined by how well the child is able to take in written information. Only when this ability is honed, then can the child acquire general knowledge more effectively.
Reading is said to be the gateway for further knowledge. It is the basic building block of learning for almost all other subjects. Parents must recognize that the earlier a child masters reading, the earlier the child can begin to acquire other areas of knowledge.
The Wonderful Possibilities
Believe you me that children are especially hungry for knowledge, even if it may be limited to specific topics that interest them, such as toys. Imagine how much happier a child would be if he could read up, and learn all about his favorite toys by himself at the age of 5. Compare this child to most children who have not even started to learn to read yet, who are still confined to just admiring the pictures in their storybooks.
Imagine further still: If all children are to master reading earlier, at the baby stage when they have a natural affinity for languages, then the number of children who would grow to develop reading deficiencies later in life would be greatly reduced. That is because the later a child starts to learn to read, the greater the challenge it is for him to pick up the skill, and hence the greater the likelihood of developing a real reading problem.
Also, if all children are to master reading earlier, then this would certainly facilitate the learning of many academic subjects in school. A high reading proficiency would allow a child to understand more easily, as well as understand far more of the materials in his textbooks, inevitably translating to an overall less stressful learning experience at school.
Learning to read early clearly brings many benefits of immeasurable value. Therefore, it is to the greatest advantage of our children when we, as parents, start them reading at an opportune young age.
How Your Child Can Benefit from Reading as They Grow Older
It is a fact that reading can bring in a lot of benefits to our lives both personally and career wise. Aside from learning new things when reading, it can also help improve our communication skills. When we read, we expose ourselves to the correct utilization of language through written words and we are able to apply this correct usage in our daily lives.
Though the benefits of reading may not be visible or may not be noticed right away in reality many have benefited from reading. Reading is a very powerful educational tool, especially for children. You can get children interested in reading by having the entire family join a certain book club or go to the library together.
There are three basic ways in which reading can help your kids.
Reading can help children develop a love for the written word as well as sharpen their intellectual abilities and master the written language. Children who become involved in book clubs or start collecting their own books will progress much more quickly than children who do not.
Another benefit from reading is being exposed to so many things. We are not only talking about books that deal with subject matters the children discuss in school such as chemistry, biology and the like but reading fiction has its benefits too. Reading can open a child's mind to different possibilities, help them become creative and helps their imaginations soar. It's true that experience is the greatest teacher but reading books is undoubtedly a good way of learning about certain life situations in advance. Reading about things and having that knowledge can make us think twice about making something happen in real life.
Reading can expose the children to different life situations which they can learn from and use in the future. When children are confronted with a similar situation in the future, such as dealing with strangers or learning new skills they will be able to properly deal with those situations because they were able to read about it before and have that knowledge to help in that situation.
Another benefit from reading is the improvement of one’s writing ability. A child's writing skills can be improved by exposing him or her to correct and formal usage of language through reading published books. Through reading, children master a language subconsciously which is the best method for learning anything, whether or not related to language. Sometimes, good speakers talk but wouldn't know how to construct good written sentences. A person who is good in writing is also usually good in speaking. Those who are good writers and good speakers are most certainly ones who read and learned from books.
When children are young, a parent should start them out with age appropriate books and move on to harder books as they grow older. Letting a child choose the books they want to read helps to instill a love of reading and they in turn will grow to read more and more as they grow older. Children who read will be far above their peers because they have learned from all the things they have read.
It is good to have your child or children read a variety of books. This helps them to develop a sense of what they enjoy or like doing. If they are only reading fiction, then their imaginations will grow and that’s not all bad but if they read how-to books and other non-fiction books this helps them to grow intellectually as well. Reading inspirational or motivational books can help instill in children the belief that they can do things, even against the odds. Reading age appropriate mystery books can help children develop analytical skills as they try to figure out or solve the mystery. I know when I was a young teenager I loved Nancy Drew Mysteries and The Hardy Boys. It helped me to figure out who committed the petty theft or whatever mystery there was.
Continue to encourage your children to read a variety of books as they grow older and you will see amazing results in their reading abilities as well as their understanding, speaking and writing skills.