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The Easy Way to Make a Better Child

October 20, 2017
Plain English Version

The earlier, the better.

Reading is the key to life. You cannot be successful in school or on the job without being able to read. Everybody knows that.

What is less understood are the other good things reading brings.

Reading to the child growing in your stomach and to the ten-year-old next to you creates a better human being. In short, the goal is not to learn to read. The goal is to open a gateway. It is a gateway to knowledge and understanding.  Best of all, it is a path to a warm, loving relationship between parents and children. New research is clear about this.

Children need interaction. Picture books are a great way to start. A good thing about a picture book is that a baby or a toddler or a preschooler has an adult who makes the book “work.” The book tells the story, producing the animal noises and giving words to the pictures. The child is using the adult to make the book talk. At the same time, the book makes the adult talk. Using the book can result in the best kind of attention. It is the kind that happens on a lap, looking at pictures and hearing familiar stories from a loved adult.

Scientists are talking about improving the brains of children. It is about all the things that can happen before the child starts school. The “must be” is the active role of the parents. They must give their full attention. It is part of reading together for pleasure. It continues as children go to school and with reading and writing in the home with parents.

Researchers asked Spanish language speakers for advice. The favorite messages were about love and affection, such as “el amor por los libros empieza en los brazos de los padres” (the love of books begins in the parents’ arms). Other messages stressed the importance of reading to your baby, such as “es una muestra de amor!” (it’s a sign of love).

An expert said “literacy involves all aspects of language. It is about our oral language, what we hear and say, and our written language, what we read and write.” It is language by ear, mouth, eye, and hand.

Source: The New York Times October 16, 2017



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