The Power of Reading Together

March 30, 2016

Language is a huge part of culture. It’s a tool that not only lets us communicate with each other but that defines the world and each person’s perceptions of it. Although humans learn little by instinct, babies start to pick up language subconsciously as soon as they’re born. Starting to speak is a huge milestone for most infants and this all starts to happen before they understand letters, words, or grammar.

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Early speech is based almost entirely on sound for most infants. However, spoken language usually only covers around 5,000 words regularly, with another 10,000 coming up with some frequency. As a foundation, this is great. However, since English has over one million different words, there’s still a lot for babies to learn.

Teachers have been preaching the benefits of reading since the dawn of time. Although integrating classrooms with technology is an exciting way to add more engagement, there is a certain power in reading and writing language that can’t be compensated for in other areas. Reading and writing words builds up the brain’s permanent word registry to help children better express themselves and their views.  Poetry, form, lyricism, rhetoric, and even logic are all built by understanding the rules of language well enough to break them properly. The best way to make sure your child’s language skills are constantly building is through reading. Promote reading in your home with some of these tips:

  • Reading Aloud: most parents read to their infants and toddlers regularly, which is fantastic. This grows the baby’s vocabulary and helps them understand words better through rote. It also encourages bonding between parents and children. So often we see this stop when the child can read for themselves. There’s no reason it should. Have older children read to you or take turns doing voices for different characters. Parents can read chapter books with their children, which helps build the bonds more strongly and encourages reading as a group or individual activity. No matter what, this should happen every day.
  • Trips to the Library: With Amazon just a few clicks away and bookstores on every corner, it’s easy to forget about the greatest literary resource of all—the library. The children’s section is full of different kinds of books for different levels. Kids can explore and choose the ones they want to read most and you don’t have to spend any extra money to broaden their horizons. Local libraries also often have programs for children like story circles or young reading clubs to bring a more social element to the experience.
  • Read More: Teachers can promote reading and books can cover your whole home but it won’t have the same impact if you’re missing this critical element. More than ever, adults aren’t reading books once they’ve finished their education. A recent poll reported almost 25% of American adults haven’t read one book in the last year. When children see their parents reading regularly, it shows them that this is an activity for everyone at every age. Make sure yours receive that message from you.

The written word is almost a secret code to unlock potential brain power. Processing these words and learning new ones builds confidence and encourages self-expression, verbal and not. There’s nothing more important in a child’s education than their mastery of language. Encouraging a love of reading will have a lifetime positive effect on your child—maybe even the whole family.

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