Many experts believe that the foundations of learning vocabulary and language start for babies while they are still in the womb.
Those babies begin to recognize their mother’s voice and associate the voice with security, which helps calm them both before and after they are born.
These experts further believe that reading to babies in the womb stimulates early intelligence and emotional development by exposure to the sounds of words and language.
Whether you agree with this or not, it is known that reading to your child will provide them with a head start over the child which has not been read to when they begin school. Parents can do this by introducing them to picture books and nursery rhymes.
The child discovers that books are read from front to back, that the print on the page stands for words, that pages are read from top to bottom, and from left to right.
Reading to young children is excellent preparation for formal reading instruction taught in school.
Many children who are read to, will begin reading on their own without any formal instruction. At first it may be just pretending to read, which, with support later turns into the real thing.
This way much of the intelligence children will ultimately have is developed before they even get to kindergarten.
When you read to them, you are stimulating their minds and building the pathways their brains need for successful reading experiences. They develop hearing skills that allow them to think about how words sound.
They come to understand that you can read for pleasure, or for information and learning. Reading also helps language development as they are like little sponges imitating everything they hear.
Listening to stories increases their vocabulary and helps them to use longer sentences. Another wonderful plus in reading to children, is that it improves their attention span and their ability to focus to what is being said.
Lastly, reading makes children more curious – a trait that must be fostered in youth or they will never acquire it, and of course, it expands their knowledge of the world around them. More than anything else, reading to young children and letting them see you reading, gives them a desire to read.
In order to empower parents to teach their own children, the Learning Hub, in partnership with the College of New Caledonia, and the Fort St. James Bi-Centennial Library will be distributing free Family Literacy Kits to parents who are interested in giving their kids a head start.
These Kits contain an Information Sheet; two books with simple instructions on how to use them to interact with the child, some suggestions for creative and imaginative exercises, crayons, pencils, paper, and a calendar of activities you can do with your child each day to promote learning.
To obtain a free Family Literacy Kit, drop into the Learning Hub, or call Alex at 250-996-7078. Literacy initiatives by the Hub are sponsored as well by the Caledonia Courier.