Ashley’s Mom Monday: The benefits of early reading to children

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — For most parents, when we talk about reading to our babies and children it’s something we try to do, but life may get busy and we put it to the side. Recent studies are showing that children who are read to at home enjoy a substantial advantage.

For Rachel King and her daughter, the love for books has started young.

“Every night it’s been a routine and right before bed, we sit down and read for her,” said King. “It’s become, you know, even during the day she’ll sit down, and like instead of playing with a puzzle, she’ll pull out her book and play with books.”

Even though children may not be able to read for several years, those first few months and years of life are critical in starting their foundation for literacy.

“It is so important to expose kids to words and to books at an early age because the more words the children hear between the zero to five zone, the better off that they will do in school down the road,” said Laura Tucker, head of the children’s services department at Homewood Library.

Plus, reading to little ones helps them grow verbally.

“I know plenty of people who comment that her vocabulary is quite expansive,” said King. “So that feels complimentary.

According the National Center for Education, children who are read to frequently recognize more letters of the alphabet, count to 20 or higher, write their own names and read or pretend to read.  Local libraries also have plenty of programs for children that really help them engage and learn.

“That’s what we’re trying to build with our story time, is to teach the parents and the kids that reading is fun and that they can learn while not just by sitting, but by interacting with books and interacting with stories,” said Tucker.

It’s also important that children use technology.

“So, we still do want that digital literacy but we want it to be quality, where what they are doing are literary based activities,” said Tucker. “We still want to have physical book in kids’ hands because we feel that is important.”

Even if you may not have a lot of books, check out your local library. There is plenty to read and plenty to do and it’s free!

“There are so many programs,” said Tucker. “There’s no reason not to come to the library because the books are free, the programs are free and it gives them an opportunity to explore and run around.”

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