Many people ask me, “Why is it important for a child to be reading at an early age?” I answer:
- Choice motivates early readers and reading opens the world of choices. Yes, reading to your child is a great way to start. Even before they can read independently, they can tell you what they want you to read to them. When they start to read independently, they can choose the words to ask about. As they become more proficient, they begin to decide what they want to learn. Their advantage is that they can learn about subjects you may have never thought to teach – motivating them to want to learn more by reading more.
- Early readers develop interests and expertise in subject areas because they can read advanced texts independently – unlike children who start reading in kindergarten. My daughter is a nonfiction buff – particularly in the area of animals. Because she started reading at two, she was able to read adult texts when she was four. She excels in the areas of science and social studies due to this backlog of information that she learned when she was much younger. In a nutshell, that expertise “effect” makes early readers very motivated to read and take in as much information as possible.
- Reading early is a great way for a child to build their vocabulary. Once in elementary school, early readers have a wider range of vocabulary and ideas which makes learning more complicated texts – like nonfiction – much easier for them because of their advanced vocabulary skills.
- Early readers are confident and successful. You may have noticed that school has gotten more academic in nature. No longer do we have half days or nap time in kindergarten. Our children are expected to be ready to go once they enter kindergarten. If they are not ready to read, they get left behind quickly. Children who come to kindergarten with a strong reading foundation or who are already reading independently can keep up with the quick pace of the curriculum. They tend to be confident and secure about their abilities in school. This leads to greater enjoyment and overall motivation within the classroom environment.
When I track the kids I have taught and my daughter’s progress, I see success continue throughout their school experiences. Children who are successful in school go on to take that success through their lives and help to make the world a better place.
I would love to hear your views of the advantages of being an early reader! How has early reading helped your child or a child you know?