To the Editor:
Did you know that reading aloud is the best gift that a parent can give to their child?
In Jim Trelease’s The Read Aloud Handbook, reading aloud to children at all ages is proven to improve their academic success. Parents have the greatest influence on their child’s life. Usually, people believe that children spend most of their time in school. Therefore, teachers have the greatest influence; yet, that is not true.
Children spend 900 hours a year in school and 7,800 hours a year at home. If parents devote at least fifteen minutes of their time to read aloud, their children are already more skilled at reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It is never too early to read to your child; parents should begin reading to their child as soon as the third trimester of pregnancy. Early reading is still effective.
Trelease shares a story about Erin Hassett and how her parents began reading to her on day one. Erin’s mother, Linda, was a teacher for 22 years. Everything she recommended for her student’s parents, she applied to Erin. Linda kept a journal of their reading experiences and one listed “nine books after breakfast; 10 books and four poems after lunch; and seven books after dinner.”
This probably seems like a lot of reading, but it wasn’t for Linda and her little girl. After Linda would finish a book, Erin would keep asking for another. At 14 months, Erin showed an interest in books and actively listened, pointed, said words, and made sounds. At about 24 months, Erin spoke complete sentences and had a vocabulary of a thousand words. Even though years went on, Erin and Linda’s reading time never diminished. These read-aloud moments led to Erin’s success on reading tests, SATs, and graduating college with the top GPA in her class.
Trelease shares this story to show how influential reading aloud to your child truly is; reading aloud sets your child up for success beyond the classroom. Reading to your child should be a time to bond with them, teach them, and watch them develop. Children learn from parents, so showing a love for reading will help them love reading as well. Parents have the power to instill the love for reading in their child by simply loving it themselves.
If parents have more than one child, reading aloud should be done separately for a more intimate bond. Believe it or not, this time for reading is the best prep course you can give your child. Trelease states, “students who read the most also read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest.”
All it takes is a parent, a child, and a picture storybook to ensure that your child is a successful reader and learner. Always make this special time relaxing and enjoyable. Parents should use reading aloud as rewards. For example, “Suzy if you finish your homework early, I’ll read you your favorite bedtime story!” This will make the child excited for that special time you two share together. Remember, children can be read to at all ages and it will continue to benefit their reading abilities. This special time will only benefit your child in the long run. All it takes to be a good parent is fifteen minutes and a book! So, don’t waste another minute; cozy up with your child and dive into a reading adventure!
Angela Celani is a sophomore at Stonehill College. She is an elementary education and psychology double major in the class of 2020. Her hometown is Chepachet and she graduated from La Salle Academy.