Babies and Reading

I was on a plane a few weeks ago and observed a young mother trying desperately to teach her toddler (about 18 months) how to read.  Yes, read! While struggling to keep the small girl in her lap, this young mother was also holding a ‘teach your baby to read’ book.  The girl just wanted to hold the book, throw the book, turn it upside down, chew on the book etc.  The mother wanted the girl to look at the large pictures and then ‘read’ the word next to the picture.  Keep in mind this girl didn’t seem to be saying much of anything, let alone read,  but that mother persevered, while checking those passengers around her to see if they noticed that her daughter was ‘reading’.  Really? What are parents thinking?  This book while not a waste of money given the fact that putting any book in a child’s hands is never a bad thing, trying to get a toddler to ‘read’ the words is a waste of time. Children who are read to from birth will develop a love of books and reading that will occur naturally over time.  I have had readers in Kindergarten, and have had children come to first grade reading.  Most of these children acquired the skill from hours, days, months and years of being read to and having a constant exposure to books.  Parents if you have young children at your house please save the money that expensive ‘teach your baby how to read’ books cost and spend the money on good quality, timeless books that your child will be able to enjoy again and again.  First, by having you read the books to them and then when he/she will learn to read on his/her own and the love of the same books will continue. I have said it before, but it is worth repeating.  No third grade teacher can survey his/her classroom and tell how old each child was when they learned to read.  So parents, stop trying to impress, let reading develop naturally and enjoy quiet times reading with your child, they do disappear all too quickly.

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Filed under Beginning Readers, Language Arts, Parents, Reading

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