By Jonathan Zeen Yick Quek | Submitted On November 03, 2013
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.
KiddyLearn is an online educational platform for children 0-6 years old. We offer various programs such as Kiddy Read, Kiddy Chinese, Kiddy Bilingo, etc. Kiddy Read is a reading program that teaches young children how to read English, starting from single words, to couplets, to phrases, and eventually to sentences. Kiddy Chinese adopts the same methodology as Kiddy Read, except that it teaches Chinese from scratch. Both Kiddy Read and Kiddy Chinese focus on training your child to sight-read words. As for Kiddy Bilingo, it is a bilingual program that teaches young children the English and Chinese terms for many things. For all three programs, we use a mixture of established methodologies (including right-brain educational principles) and a mixture of interesting content (words, pictures, animations, and native-voice narratives), delivered through daily-preplanned lessons that just need a few quick clicks to play. There are a whopping total of 336 lessons respectively in Kiddy Read and Kiddy Chinese. We enable you to teach your child using the latest technologies, offering you lots more convenience and effectiveness.