As parents, we often worry about how we can actively help ours children’s education. Most of us aren’t teachers; we do not work in schools. In fact, we do not always even understand the standards they are supposed to learn, let alone know how to help them. But there is one activity we can do regularly that keeps us engaged with our kids, and helps their education at the same time: reading.
Reading is the most important academic activity you can do with your child.
When you read to younger children, you are helping them develop and build their language arts skill. Vocabulary building, sentence structure, and reading comprehension are just a few example of these early literacy skills. And these skills are not just important as they are growing, but remain critical to their overall success as a student. Studies show that, “children who fall seriously behind in the growth of critical early reading skill have fewer opportunities to practice reading Evidence suggest that these lot practice opportunities make it extremely difficult for children who remain poor readers during the first three years of elementary school to every acquire average level of reading fluency,” (Torgeson, 2004).
But reading together goes beyond simply building literacy skills; it also works to build positive and pleasant relationships between your child and their opinion of books. When you spend that quality time together between you, your child, and a book, you are creating positive memories for both of you as well as your child on an academic. Reading becomes difficult for some kids as they age; sometimes it can seem to be a downright chore for them. But when they have positive memories and associations with print, it makes it easier for them to want to read.
Reading together also helps increase your child’s chances for success at school. One of the largest contributors to potential failure in school is difficulty reading. When children struggle with this basic skill it can cause higher levels of absenteeism, school dropouts, and in some cases substance abuse and possibly even teen pregnancy.
As a parent, it may often seem as if you don’t know where to start in helping your child. But if you have the time and ability to pick one thing only, read together. This skill is critical to the success of your child’s academic career and helps build a positive relationship between the two of you at the same time.
Torgeson, J. (2004) Avoiding the Devasting Downward Spiral, American Educator.