National Reading Month

John Funk Goldilocks 3 Dinosaurs

March just happens to be National Reading Month.  As far as I am concerned, every month should be National Reading Month.  Research tells us that children who are read to on a regular basis simply know more.  Those children come to school with something called, “Social Capital.”  Social Capital is all of the background information that a child has when he or she enters school.  When Horace Mann helped create the first common schools in the United States, he thought school would be the great equalizer.  If we gave all children the same education, they would end up in the same place as adults and have the same opportunity to achieve.  The one thing Horace Mann forgot was social capital.  Children do not come to school with the same background information and experiences.  Because of this factor and the differences of support a child may have through school, it is impossible for all children to receive the same education and end up in the same place academically, socially, and emotionally.

One large discrepancy in learning is in language development.  Sometimes two five year-old children can have language backgrounds that are different by  thousands of hours.  That is where reading to the child becomes so critical.  A child who is read to regularly has greater language skills, a larger vocabulary, and more background knowledge about the world.  He is also more likely to become a good reader himself because of the good modeling that has occurred and the fact that after listening to many books, reading makes sense to him.

Challenge yourself to read to a child this month (and continue on each month after that).  Nothing compares to the joy of reading a story to a young child.  Here is a fun suggestion.  Pick up a copy of a new book by Mo Willems called, “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs.”  Enjoy the experience with the child as you have a laugh together and build background knowledge that may benefit her for a lifetime.

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2 responses

  1. Susana Haskins | Reply

    What a wonderful concept, that by doing something as simple as reading to our children, we give them the chance to develop crucial language and thinking skills. It is such a bonding experience too. I wish my children were little again just to read to them again :). But they both love to read even now as they are entering adolescence. I know it’s because I read to them as part of their bedtime routine. I think children are naturally drawn to books, but it’s our job to encourage it so that they learn to love reading. I keep all of my children’s books still and whenever we have children of friends or family visit, they know where we keep the books. I’ll make it a point to read a book or two with them this month and to pass the word around that it’s National Reading Month 🙂

    1. Susana,
      Thanks so much for your comments. Your children are lucky to have such a concerned mother. Someday you will probably have the opportunity to read to your grandchildren. That is what I get to do now and it is even more wonderful.

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