Did you know during the first six years of her life, a child learns at a much faster pace than at any other time in her life? The early years of a child’s life are extremely crucial when it comes to understanding and absorbing information. Many parents do not realize this, and often wait until their child enters kindergarten to start implementing learning techniques and strategies. However, studies have shown that if parents practice and teach reading to their students at a very young age, the child is more likely to have overall success in her academic career.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of reading at a very young age:
1. Higher grades
Early reading leads to a love of learning, which leads to early academic success. When children learn to read at a very young age, they gain a better general knowledge and are able to expand their vocabulary. This helps them comprehend more of what they are reading, and gives them the ability to extract relevant information from their educational resources.
According to an article by Teach Reading Early, “Early readers not only become lifelong readers, but also lifelong learners.” They are able to attain stronger concentration levels and improve their attention span by mastering effective reading strategies. Not to mention, longitudinal studies have proven that early readers achieve higher grades than their peers through grade school.
2. Less pressure
Consider this: Your child is in a crowded classroom of thirty students when the teacher begins a reading lesson by sounding out words and explaining sentence structure. He panics as he sees his fellow classmates grasping the concepts and picking up the skills as he continues to fall behind. He fears he will never fully learn how to read as he constantly competes with his peers for the attention and assistance of the teacher.
However, if a child begins reading at an early age of 2 or 3 years old, there is no pressure to adhere to certain scholastic guidelines or fear of failure. They are in the comfort of their own home, and the parent can provide their child with the one on one attention they need. Reading will seem fun to the child, especially if it is presented in a leisurely way. Taking the time to read a little to your student each day will make it feel like an exciting adventure rather than a daunting chore.
3. More self-confidence
Reading early promotes self-confidence by making the child feel more prepared upon entering grade school. There are very few children who know how to read before kindergarten, and often these students are given praise for their accomplishments by receiving awards and certificates. They may be encouraged to write their own stories, or even be placed in advanced reading groups to further their skills. Such recognition can foster a positive self-image in the student’s mind, which sets the tone and expectations for the rest of their academic career.
Also, this gives early readers the opportunity to connect and relate to their peers on a more competent level. They are being recognized for their accomplishments, which in turns helps boost both their social status and confidence. Often they are seen as role models who can help lead others by example.
How can I teach early reading to my child?
Start by reading aloud to your child when he is still an infant. The baby’s brain works in mysterious ways; it consists of thousands of interconnected branches and synapses. These connections are made through stimulation and early experiences, which forms the basis of future intellectual ability. Listening to his parent read helps influence the baby’s development and brain function, which can instill a lifelong passion for reading.
When your child is a toddler, find age appropriate books for you to read together. Focus on books that explain the letters of the alphabet and their sounds. Beginning with the foundations will help condition your child to reading and give him the building blocks for forming words. Then, find books with a lot of color, pictures and shapes, with easy-to-read, three letter words. Sound out each letter of the word and ask your child to mimic your actions, while pointing to the pictures the word references and discussing what each means. Eventually, your child will grasp the early concepts of reading and will be able to familiarize himself with words before starting school.
It is important to remember that each child is different and will learn to read at his own pace. Reading is not something to be forced or thrust upon a child at an early age, but rather gradually introduced in creative, fun, easy to understand ways. Encourage reading and spark your child’s interest by introducing her to books and other materials early on; it can only help make her feel more confident and prepared for when she starts school.