I recently read an article in the March 2010 issue of Parenting magazine that caught my undivided attention. The article was The Early Literacy Crisis by Lisa Moran. It discussed a 2009 report from Jumpstart, a national early education organization dedicated to advancing school readiness in low-income communities. “By second grade, we can predict with reasonable accuracy who will go on to higher education and who will not, based on their literacy skills,” says Jumpstart board member Laura Berk, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Illinois State University.
The article intrigued me so much that I found the initial report. It is not as boring as you might think. See link below if you are interested.
My two year old loves to read and even though I knew it was important to his development I did not realize the true impact. We probably read a minimum of ten books a day and he is already enjoying kindergarten level stories. However, we have not abandoned board books yet because I think all books have something to offer. I realize all children enjoy different types of books, levels of books, and have different attention spans. I do believe that snuggling up with good books is a wonderful way to spend quality time together with your child no matter their age. Even when children develop the skills to read on their own research shows that reading to them is beneficial. I hope we move on to chapter books when he is in school and can read a chapter or two every night.
My son and I have a little system to keep track of how many books we have read to make it even more fun. You may be as creative or as simple as you like in designing this system. Right now I have a barn I made from my paper supplies. I plan on laminating the next one to keep it a little more intact. I purchased farm animal stickers at the dollar store and we put an animal sticker in the barn for every book we read.
For older children you can have them even create their own bookmark that they can add stickers to as they complete books or even chapters. Most children are proud of their accomplishments so we try to keep up with one a month and then date it on the back. I even enjoy looking back in amazement at all the books we have read.
I challenge and encourage you to read to your child every day if you can. It has become one of the highlights of our evening bedtime rituals.