Sage advice on reading for parents and educators

Sage advice on reading for parents and educators

Many readers of The Write Team column know that I am passionate about sharing the importance literacy. There is so much truth in the cliché “reading opens doors.” Research and studies document and support the value of reading. Have you ever heard of anyone who has been bored into wisdom through reading?

My message to parents: There are many factors that play a role in the early brain and development of a child. Numerous studies conducted found that beginning from birth and continuing throughout early childhood, children’s cognitive development was affected by a family’s daily routine of parent-child interactions, along with early education activities. These support the importance of early literacy and the benefits of lifelong learners.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all parents read to their children from birth. During well child checkups parents are encouraged by pediatricians to read to their children. A child’s introduction to literature and literacy cannot begin too soon.

Reading aloud is one of the best ways you can help your child learn how to read. It is a major resource in the acquisition of literacy. Model for your kids the love for the written word. Let them see you reading books, magazines and newspapers for enjoyment and new learning. Dispel the thought of kids who equate reading as work, not fun. Consider giving gifts to kids as presents for birthdays and during holidays.

Take the time to read aloud to your infant and young child. Continue to read with your school aged children even after they can read themselves. Take turns reading together. It is important for kids to hear more complex words from books during a read aloud that they might not read on their own.

So often during middle school and high school, kids who grew up devouring books, may not find time to read for pleasure due to school assignments, extracurricular activities, and too much screen time. Kids of all ages should read for pleasure.

My suggestion to moms and dads is clear and simple: read to your children, read with them and encourage them to read. This is your time together. It is time well spent that equals success. The best thing parents can do to encourage children to love books is through read alouds.

My message to educators: The demands of a teacher are great and can be overwhelming. Both you and your students are expected to perform. There is nothing more important than scheduled daily read alouds reflected in your lesson plans. Students of all ages should be read to.

As educators, we have an obligation to share with families the importance of books and that books are written for kids. Promotion for the importance of literacy needs to be shared with students and parents.

Sharing quality read-alouds in the classroom and providing student opportunities for pleasure reading develops background knowledge for all kinds of topics, sophisticated language, comprehension, and higher-order thinking skills.

Teenagers who are read to in the classroom are more likely to read frequently for pleasure and on their own. When a classroom teacher or entire campus dedicate independent reading time, kids are more likely to read for enjoyment. During independent reading time, students should be allowed to read for fun. Students should read a book of their choosing that is not for an assigned class reading.

With much success many school districts encourage teachers to include time in the day for students to select books of their choice and read for a designated time. Time spent reading at home and at school for at least five days a week with young children and students of all ages is so important. It grooms them to read more on their own. Kids who are read to daily, at school and at home become frequent readers and adult readers. These readers equal literate, successful adults. My suggestion to educators is clear and simple: read to your students, read with them and encourage them to read.

Enjoyment is a synonym for engagement. Engagement is essential in learning, growing and acquiring new knowledge. Read alouds provide engagement. Pick up a book and read. Pick up a book and read to and with children. Doing so will open the doors to many enjoyable possibilities and pleasures. Reading to and with children is an investment in their future.

Sue Leopold may be contacted at