It’s almost the end of a year. Well, school year that is. In just 7 days, I will wrap up a school-year long journey with my sweet third graders. They’ve grown. In many, many ways. They’ve grown taller. They’ve grown smarter and wiser and they’ve grown in their reading--many of them by leaps and bounds. It is so satisfying to watch and hear their growth in reading. Makes my heart happy. I venture to say that much of their growth has come from reading and reading and reading...a lot.
And I remember during the year that I told many parents at parent teacher conferences: “Don’t stop reading with your child.” I told them that they are the best model for building expression, rate, and fluency. Wait. What? These kids are 8 years old – some of them 9 years old. They don’t need someone reading to them. Oh – yes, they do. Yes, they do.
Reading fluency begins at a very early age. My husband and I read to our girls every night. I can even remember reading Goodnight Moon and reaching the part in the story where the bunny is saying goodnight to everything in the room. He reaches the part where he says, “And the quiet, old lady was whispering – hush.” We had read that story so many times that our girls would always finish that line by saying, “hush.” It was so cute! It was profound! They were only toddlers on our lap and yet fully aware of when that line was coming. Every time they would finish it. They were reading!
I found a great site that talks about the benefits of reading to your toddler. I love what the writer has to say, because every single point is spot on. I can tell you from a teacher’s perspective that the kids who have been read to and who read are ahead of the curve in spelling, language, and comprehension. Their mental schema – the files in their brain – is more vast simply because they have been exposed to more things. More pictures – more words – more language - more scenarios – just more and it builds their little computer files. Reading has a profound way of doing just that. Expanding the base of knowledge. And believe me – that’s a good, good thing.
Enjoy reading the site about 7 Benefits of Reading to Your Toddler
Until next time, some food for thought:
"The fluent reader sounds good, is easy to listen to, and reads with enough expression to help the listener understand the joy the material."
--Charles Clark, "Building Fluency: Do it Right and Do it well!" (1999)