"I always thought that I should focus on Play with my preschooler, and spend time on READING when my child gets older.
WHy should I start reading with my child now?"
When children are little, each of the early reading skills they develop – like being able to hear and play with the sounds in words, being able to recognize letters, and developing a large vocabulary – independently play a role in their ability to sound out and understand stories. These skills are developing when your child is two, three, and four years old. But they become interconnected by the time your child gets to second or third grade. For that reason, early shared reading helps your child acquire these building blocks of reading before it’s too late. There is a lot of evidence that shows that we can predict how a child will perform in reading tasks throughout their whole school career based on how well they acquire these early skills in preschool and kindergarten. That’s why it is critical for parents to provide these experiences to their toddlers and preschoolers before they enter kindergarten, and this is exactly what the parents of academically successful children do.
"Are there other skills CHILDREN can learn during shared reading time?"
Reading together provides you with the opportunity to model and develop your child’s persistence, curiosity, perspective-taking, and empathy – all components of your child’s character that affect academic and occupational success. These are important traits that support learning, and reading is a valued and universal activity that allows you to develop them. Although sports and games are other ways to develop these character traits, it may be more difficult for children to apply what they learn from extracurricular activities to academic activities. And although these traits can be developed through work in other academic areas, the fact that reading is accessible to all students – through books and magazines that they find interesting – makes it more appealing for many parents and children to work on together in comparison to, for example, practicing math flashcards. Parents need to help children stay focused, be persistent, and take turns with others before they enter kindergarten so they can get the most of out their school day.
"What is most IMPORTANT for me to know about this book?"
The most important message we want to share is that it is not complicated to build language and literacy skills – the activities you need to engage your child in can be simple and fun. Many of the activities don’t require you to even have a book in your hands, and focus instead on games you can play in the car or on the go. Language and written words surround us all the time, and the strategies we share will allow you to capitalize on the great learning opportunities that arise each day. Our book is filled with ideas for helping your child build many skills across his first decade of life.