The study establishes meaningful connections between initial reading to children early in their lives and various cognitive skills. The findings from the survey delineate a causal effect on children's school outcomes owing to parents who read to their children. As a critical factor in defining and explaining success later in life, the cognitive skills of infants and young children, which also promote skill attainment, can be influenced by significant parental effort during their early life stages. The study further delineates the substantial and evident positive effects of reading to children, which include improved cognition and numeracy skills as well as language and literacy abilities. Summarily, the article reiterates that when the frequency of reading to children is continuously maintained at 4-5 days a week, the child is assured of achieving higher scores later in life in any literacy/numeracy skills for reading between age 8-9years.
Why it's important to read aloud with your kids, and how to make it count-Washington Post
In her recent article published in the Washington Post, Amy (2017) highlights the significant milestones that reading of a child at a tender age can have in his or her development life cycle. Amy asserts that reading to children opens doors to the global circle and beyond broadening the knowledge of a child in all aspects of life. This entails the use of children books, which are often predominated with pictures and smattering words, to impart the information therein to a child's brain as the knowledge is invaluable in child development. In perspective, the author believes that through reading to a child, one is assured of bringing up children with the know-how on important lessons about family, religion, friendship, interpersonal skills, talent identification, growing up, respect and much more. The author concludes that by reading books and stories to children at a tender age, they are encouraged to develop into strong readers, independent, and confident learners. According to her, kids of all ages are always interested in books that make them laugh, here, parents can have fun while reading these silly books. She, therefore, concludes that it is paramount to get books with stories from different religions, backgrounds, identities in helping the children to find themselves in books in addition to learning about the lives of other people thus learning the importance of love, kindness, and empathy. The books should be made readily available within reach of children, for example, having the bookshelves low enough so that they can read anytime they want.
A comparison of the positions reflected in both sources
In their empirical study, Kalb and Van Ours (2014) argue that reading storybooks and bible narrations to children at an early age is not only important in bonding parents and their children but also vital in equipping a child with advanced comprehension skills and more extensive vocabularies. This can be attributed to the rather common association between reading to children by parents and cognitive development, reading and language skills. This skills are later translated into the subsequent development of stimulating or remedial activities that are vital for proficiency in other non-cognitive measures related to socio-emotional and physical outcomes (Kalb & Van Ours, 2014). On the other hand, Amy Joyce, in her Washington Post publication, argues that to encourage the love of reading amongst their children, caregivers ought to read in front of their children and read to them as well. This translates to children who, at a very young age identify letters and sounds correct and early developmental stages characterized by identification of common words and subsequently writing and reading. While I contend with the argument, it is somewhat noteworthy that the differences in cognitive skills and reading ability are not based on or related to a child's home environment and family background, but instead, direct results of increased frequency of reading exposure they have before commencing schooling activities. Moreover, the communication skills of children can be expounded significantly, enabling them to gain an in-depth understanding of the direct or hidden meaning of words.
Amy (2017) agrees with the arguments posited by Kalb and Van Ours (2014) that it is through reading to a child that a young reader sprouts, developing crucial skills that entail independence and confidence. As they tackle and seek to understand unknown, rather complicated words and phrases on their own, they build a knowledge base of pronunciation, grammar, words, and spelling, which ultimately makes the more confident to put the knowledge acquired in practice. However, Kalb and Ours (2014) argue that the most appropriate age for children to start reading or being read to should be age three while Amy Joyce proposes that a child be read to from day one. According to her, the lyrical voice of the reader, the poetic nature of the stories and quality of words in a given text catch the attention of the infant momentarily. On this note, the authors disagree because Kalb and Van Ours (2014) assert that young readers caton decipher and interpret unknown words, associating meaning as the reading experience exposes them to patterns in words as prevalent in the books and stories, therefore should be left alone. According to them, the children will, through the reading experience from their parents, use the tools in their exploratory stages to independently solve problems in language and numeracy, only turning to their parents or caregivers for help when they have thoroughly exhausted the tools in their exposure.
Consequently, in his or her later stage in life, a child learns the ability to be more expressive when speaking and more articulate through the employment of a broad range of phrases and words to elaborate an opinion or a given point of communication. The authors note how most stories equip children with vital tools that they can employ later in their life such as etiquette, friendliness, and politeness. Conversely, Amy (2017) encourages parents not to stop guiding and reading to the children even after they become independent readers though the reading should be commenced before a child's first birthday. She also provides insightful tips on how to make the reading experience more interesting through making sounds, engaging in funny actions, being playful even when the young one seems distracted or interruptive during Storytime with questions.
Reading to children at their young age, as revealed in the Washington Post and the study by Kalb and Van Ours (2014) enables children to achieve higher scores in other subjects because of their pre-training in reading. If a child can comprehend words, he or she can easily read, understand and solve math problems as well as answering questions on any given test. This is attributed to strong reading and diction skills, ability to comprehend paragraphs in any given text as well as an excellent grasp of punctuation and grammar which helps children to excel across various educational challenges later in life.
Drawing from the arguments presented herein, parents play a significant role in the development of their children and subsequent educational performance. This argument is grounded on the fact that parental reading to their children at an early age increases their reading skills of the child in later years between age 8-11 and multiple other cognitive skills such as language development, advanced comprehension and high score achievement in school. Reading to children from age 0 to 3 instills in them the passion and love for reading. As they learn new words and phrases, the experience opens to them limitless opportunities giving them an entirely novel way of communicating, expand their imagination and acquire further information. Therefore book reading and storytelling should be incorporated into families as a cultural practice into the daily life of children. Beyond keeping children safe and healthy, parents ought to acknowledge the vitality and significance of reading with their children because studies establish the importance of early reading in enabling children to learn how to bond, interact and speak with their family members and peers.
Amy, J. (2017). Washington Post. Retrieved 13 September 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2017/02/16/why-its-important-to-read-aloud-with-your-kids-and-how-to-make-it-count/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.479c86ea7e00
Kalb, G., & Van Ours, J. C. (2014). Reading to young children: A head-start in life? Economics of Education Review, 40, 1-24
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