Are there benefits of teaching your child to read?
There are both advocates and opponents of early childhood reading. Many experts argue that young children are not developmentally ready to learn reading, and pushing them to learn reading at a young age could even be damaging.
With differing views on early learning, what are your personal stance? That’s more important, because ultimately it’s your decision to make as your child’s parent.
There are many parents who believe that early literacy skills should be taken care of by school education. But is our school education system doing an adequate job in teaching our children how to read fluently?
Children with reading difficulties suffer from long-term consequences such as:
- They feel less positive about themselves and have lower self-esteem.
- Declining self-motivation to learn to read.
- Not reading at grade-level lead to difficulty in understanding new concepts taught.
- Lagging vocabulary development.
- Affecting their academic success.
Then there are an increasing number of parents everywhere who are teaching their children to read successfully at home, before the children start their grade or primary school.
What are some of the benefits of early learning or early childhood reading?
1. Builds a Stronger Bond Between Parent and Child
As the parent will be involved in helping the toddler or preschooler learn to read at home, there will be more interactions between them.
Reading is one of the most crucial skills for learning. The parent will become the child’s first teacher and will be giving the child the gift of reading. It’s a gift that your child will be using for the rest of her life.
2. Easier to Learn in Early Years
Many parents believe that developing literacy skills should be left to school teachers. But a child’s brain development is very rapid during his early years from birth to 5 years old. Developing early literacy skills at this stage is much easier, where the child can easily soak up and absorb new information.
This is a big plus for me. If my toddler son would have an easier time learning to read at this age, I would like to take the opportunity to kick start his journey of learning to read.
3. Lesser Distractions
I’ve been helping my toddler son to learn to read since he was two years and 3 months old. Over the months, I’ve seen how his level of distractions increased.
When we first started, he would patiently focus on his short lessons. Months later, he would be distracted by his toys and his other activities.
If a child could learn to read at a younger age where he has lesser distractions, he would be more focused on learning to read. Then when he’s older and if he has an interest with airplanes, instead of wondering what is the information about in his book about airplanes, he could be reading interesting information about his passion.
Learning to read at a young age allows the child to indulge in his interests more.
I’ve read of a story of a boy perhaps 5 or 6 years old with a fascination on dinosaurs. Because of his ability to read, he could read up information on his favorite subject, and he sort of turned himself into a mini encyclopedia about dinosaurs.
Kids have a thirst for learning and if they could read, they would be learning much more about their favorite subjects!
4. Giving the Child a Head Start
If you teach your child to read at home using a simple and effective reading program, you will be giving your child your whole attention, and you will be using the proper phonics instructions in teaching your child to read.
By leaving your child’s reading skill to be taught by her school teachers, they might not be giving her the attention she needs.
I remember how my niece had to be enrolled into a phonics enrichment class to learn to read when she was 6, because her kindergarten teacher felt she was lacking in this area, and this could pose a problem when she starts her primary school the following year. The same thing happened to her younger sister when she was 6 too.
We thought they would be taught to read successfully by their school teachers. Apparently not.
5. Helping a Child to Succeed in School
Studies have found that early home literacy experiences would affect the child’s subsequent language and literacy skills, relating to areas of listening comprehension and vocabulary skills.
Studies have also shown that children’s early literacy development is impacted by supportive parental involvement. Children who come from homes that promote early literacy skills are better prepared for school.
One Important Note
Having mentioned these benefits of early reading, I would also like to highlight to parents one important thing. Please do not let the process of learning to read be put into a negative light which will put your child off learning!
You have to tune into your child’s responses to learning to read. This is also something that I have to remind myself of.
If he’s not ready, wait a few months and try again. If he’s not in the mood for the lesson that day, postpone the lesson to another day, let him play with other things.
Let the child have fun learning to read! Take full advantage of the informal instructional environment at home to engage your child’s attention in play-guided activities. Young children who love to learn to read will be chasing their parents for the day’s lesson! :)
How to Teach Your Toddler or Preschooler to Read at Home?
If you decide to start teaching your child to read at home, be sure to select a simple and highly effective reading program that is phonics and phonemic awareness based.
What other benefits can you think of when a child learns to read early on in life?