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Read, Read, Read

July 23, 2016
Plain English Version

readingReading to infants and toddlers is always a good idea. Parents hope it will lead to children picking up and reading books.

The digital age is changing that. Fewer children are reading books for pleasure.

Younger children — ages 6 to 11 – who are read to aloud are more likely to read books on their own.  If their access to digital devices is restricted. Older children – ages 12 to 17 – read if they have some free time. Sometimes that is hard to come by.

A new report says children will read books if they are in a family of readers. Experts recommend that parents continue to read to/with their children through elementary school.

An expert said, “A lot of parents assume that once kids begin to read on their own, that (reading by oneself) is the best thing for them to do.” Being read to aloud is part of the love of reading.

Children often say the reading helps them bond with their parents. An expert said parents do not know how important a role reading plays in children’s lives.

Experts say the real value of reading to children is helping them learn about all kinds of topics. It also exposes kids to a higher level of language.

Common wisdom was that the more words a child hears, the better the child will perform in school. Studies have shown that kids in middle-income homes hear many more words than children in lower-income homes.

A new study says it is the quality of the words that counts. Hearing whole sentences matters. “Look, a dog!” “Want a bottle after your bath?” “Yes, that is a bus!” – these kinds of sentences help kids learn how language is used. Experts also say speaking to kids using an adult tone and voice will better prepare children for the future.

Sources: The New York Times January 8, 2015 & The New York Times October 16, 2014

Send comments to: editor@newsinplainenglish.com

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