Yesterday’s Read Across America Day and celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday kicked off two months of promotions to educate families and caregivers about the importance of reading to children. March is National Reading Month, National Reading Awareness Month and features World Poetry Day on the 21st, followed by International Children’s Book Day, National Library Week, the Week of the Young Child and Drop Everything and Read Day in April.
Research has shown us the importance of reading to children from birth. Young children who are read to regularly have larger vocabularies, a strong predictor of success in school. And regular reading time with a parent or caregiver helps form the bonds that bolster the social-emotional growth which is so important to a child’s overall development.
The experts at ReadAloud.org, who urge parents to read to their children for 15 minutes a day beginning at birth, say that half of the children in our country will not hear a bedtime story tonight. Reading to a child just 15 minutes daily builds literacy and language skills that can make the difference between starting school ready to learn or starting behind and struggling to catch up.
Choose Developmentally Appropriate Books
Reading age-appropriate books that capture a child’s interest helps instill a love of reading and realization that books open up a world of ideas and fun.
Lisa Poppe, Extension Educator with The Learning Child says babies and toddlers like board books, photos of familiar things like babies and toys, and photos of children doing familiar things like playing, goodnight books and animal books. Preschoolers like books with action, stories that rhyme, books with repetition and funny-sounding words, and stories with happy endings.