Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Read with Me!

As everyone who knows me well, knows; I am like most teachers you will meet that have a firm belief in reading with your child.  Research supports that we should read to our children from 'before they are born'.
Reading teaches so many important things, that it is often hard to compile a list without leaving some out.  So, I will endeavour  to list my TOP 10 reasons that reading aloud is important for our children:

1. FOR ENJOYMENT - children love to hear a story, and the message that you send when you are reading is one of love and happiness. 

2. BACKGROUND KNOWLEDGE to assist children to better understand the world around them for example: reading about a teddy bear, coupled with a graphic of a teddy bear assists your child to see their own teddy bear in relation to the world.  This is a simplistic analogy for little children, but it is the start of developing your child's background knowledge or deeper understanding.

3. LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT the more language children are exposed to, the better their understanding and grasp of language will be.  Children learn language through modelling and reading is a great activity to develop language and vocabulary  (note this differs from speech development)
4. SPEECH DEVELOPMENT this is also developed by hearing speech patterns of others.  Reading speech offers a different pattern to spoken speech (usually a narrative in the younger years).  Speech articulation is also taught through the modelling of speech sounds and patterns.

5. PHONEMIC AWARENESS the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds of language.  This is learnt through reading experiences, especially through rhyme and rhythm.  (Developing good phonemic awareness skills in children is a real passion of mine and you will encounter this topic several times in my upcoming blogs!)

6. REPETITION children learn best when they hear something more than one time.  Sharing a book together allows you the opportunity to re-read favourite books over and over and over and over SIGH, usually to the exhaustion of the reader, but this is extremely important for the child who is listening and learning from that story and language

7. SEQUENCES  Children need to be able to sequence.  We follow sequences and routines in all of our everyday life and structured learning.  Hearing a story and being able to place the storyline into a sequence teaches our children the ability to understanding the routines that we have to follow, as well as making those important brain connections.

8.ATTENTION SPAN AND LISTENING Children who are able to sit and listen to a story will always achieve to a higher extent in structured education.  Increasing the length of the book and your child's motivation to listen to the story will assist them when they start their formal education - they have already developed the ability to attend to an activity!

9.  Reading aloud exposes your child to different TEXT TYPES AND WRITING GENRES.  This enables your child to speak in 'reading language' as well as having a story and print knowledge that they will draw upon throughout their life long learning

10. For the LOVE of Learning:
Choose a special time each day to cuddle up with your child.  Your child will love the cuddles, and love the one on one time that this busy world often does not provide us with.  Together you will share funny, sad, exciting, adventurous and interesting stories that will cement your child's love of literature, love of reading and love of learning

OK, now I felt that I needed to narrow this to the top 10.  There are more bullet points that I could add to this, however, I believe these are the most important.  Please feel free to share with me any of these or other skills that you believe are the most important reasons for reading aloud to a child.  As parents, it is often SOOOO hard to find those precious moments to read with your child, however, it is equally important as it is difficult.  Try to set aside time each day to READ READ READ,



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