I taught a class recently and when I mentioned this fact, I was met with skepticism: “…[In] its 1985 report, Becoming a Nation of Readers, reading aloud to children was singled out as the single most important activity to ensure future classroom success for children” (from Jim Trelease in Peak with Books). And this research has been repeated–and the results are the same.
It sounds soooo simple–and it is.
It perplexes me. We want our children to learn and to have a good education. But we expect it to be way more difficult to achieve than it is. We want a fancy, complicated, technological answer.
Reading a book a day to a child just seems too easy. It is.
It is hard in today’s world to make the time. But the task itself is easy. When children are read to from birth through age 5, they all* are able to learn to read when they begin school. It doesn’t matter what their socioeconomic level is. It doesn’t matter what their parents educational level is. It doesn’t matter, period.
Human brains are made from birth to learn language in all its forms and uses (did you know when babies learn to babble, they make every sound from every language?). Just like with walking, we are geared to language–spoken, read, and written. Give a child what they need and it will happen. Read to them.
(*all children with exceptions such as injuries, congenital problems, etc. that prevent reading)