To the editor:
As part of my Reading Theory class in college we were given the assignment to read the book The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. Throughout the book I was amazed out at how truly important reading aloud to children is and that it must be done early. Reading aloud for just 10 minutes can make a huge difference in a child’s future because as Jim Trelease states “the more you read, the better you get at it; the better you get at it, the more you like it; and the more you like it, the more you do it.”
One example of how crucial reading to your child is, is the story of a little girl named Jennifer in The Read-Aloud Handbook. Jennifer’s parents had received the handbook as a gift and decided to start reading to her when she was born. Jennifer was born with heart problems and was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, but that never stopped her parents from reading her at least 10 books a day. Even seven years later, Jennifer loves to read, is one of the best readers in her class, and has one of the best vocabularies. Although Jennifer being a phenomenal reader is amazing, what is more amazing is that she was born with Down Syndrome and was believed to be severely handicapped. Luckily she beat what her doctors had said and has an IQ of 111.
Throughout the book there are more remarkable stories just like Jennifer’s that shows the impact of reading aloud, but my favorite story is not in the book; it is my own story. My mom has always firmly believed in reading and equates my sister and I doing so well in school to our daily routine of reading. Every night before bed or before our naps my mom would have us lay down and she would read to us. Then when we were old enough to read ourselves she would have us read to her. Some of my best memories as a kid revolve around laying in bed with a good book with my mom reading with her.
These two stories are just small examples of how important reading is and it is accessible to everyone. The best thing to do with a young reader is to give them the choice of either staying up for 15 more minutes and reading or going to bed. Not watching TV or playing a video game, but reading in bed with a reading lamp and a book. As the holidays approach think about giving your children the gift of reading because it could be one of the most influential gifts anyone could ever buy.
As I close, remember these stories and make time to read to your child. Even if it’s only 10 minutes of the day, it could make a world of a difference.