1. I don't need to read to my baby/toddler.
The foundations of learning to read begins from the moment a baby can hear sounds. People talking, music playing, and the rhythms and repetitions in stories and nursery rhymes. It makes sense then to talk, sing, read and play with our babies, at such a crucial time in their brain development.
2. Children don't need to learn how to read until they start school.
Children that haven't been talked to, sung to, or read to, find schooling much harder. Because the foundation of learning to read begins well before school, children that haven't experienced this stimulation may find it harder to concentrate, problem solve, and express themselves clearly. Reading aloud allows a child to extend their vocabulary, learn complex sentences and phrases, and develop their creative thinking skills- in turn making them smarter.
3. Reading aloud helps develop a child's speaking skills.
How does a child learn how to talk if they aren't spoken to? By being spoken and read to children are encouraged to speak back. By the time a child turns one they have learned all of the basic sounds of their native language. This is why it's so difficult for adults to master the accent of another language, because the wiring for language development begins when we're born. Learning to read can be likened to learning a foreign language. The earlier that children are exposed to the magical language of stories and books the better.
4. Reading aloud benefits the whole community.
Governments recognise now more than ever that by promoting early literacy skills means that they spend less money later on, on things such as, illiteracy, depression, crime, unemployment, and welfare benefits. Reading aloud to a child proves to be a win/win situation for everyone concerned.
5. It is recommended that you read three stories a day to your child.
According to Mem Fox author of Reading Magic, some experts actually recommend that children hear a thousand books before they begin to read themselves. That may seem like a lot but this can be achieved in one year. Considering that there's four or five years before children start school, (depending on where you live), then that can easily be achieved. Think about the difference that you can make in your child's life just by reading three books a day. To ensure that a child's strengths, needs, and interests are met, this would ideally include one familiar, one favourite, and one new book.
6. It's important that children see adults reading.
If children see how important reading and writing is to us then they too will want to read. Newspapers, maps, phonebooks, dictionaries, novels, and street signs, all assist us in getting through our day to day lives. Next time you're out with your child, see if they can spot any signs or recognise words.
The most important thing for young children is to see, hear, and feel you're unconditional love. What better way to do that, then by sharing the magical world of a book!