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The Importance of Reading Prior to Starting School

By April 13th, 2022No Comments

Children’s learning begins in the home environment, and parents play an important role in shaping children’s early learning opportunities, especially through reading.

Australian author Mem Fox says children need to hear a thousand books before starting school. She argues that our children need continual exposure to books from infancy.

Reading aloud to your child helps you and your child to form connections. If you read to your child regularly, you will be helping to develop a lifelong appreciation and love of it too.

Reading to young children promotes concepts of print, vocabulary acquisition, literacy development and reading comprehension. It helps to ignite your child’s imagination and curiosity and increases memory and attention span. Most importantly it helps children understand that reading makes meaning.

Read pattern books with repetitive and predictable rhymes, phrases, and story lines. Rhyme is essential in developing children’s awareness of the sound structures of language. It is a precursor for reading and writing. Literacy learning can occur in any environment at any time. During play, add books to read about related topics e.g. Block play – picture books about houses, bridges, construction, demolition.

Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than children who were never read to, a new study found. This ‘million word gap’ could be one key in explaining differences in vocabulary and reading development.

You can read more about how to foster a love of reading with your child here.

Gloria West is the Consultant – Literacy and Numeracy at Cairns Catholic Education