Getting a child “ready” to start school seems to be on every parent’s mind as they look at preschool registration. There are plenty of ideas about what children need to be ready to learn. Parents often ask, "What do they need to know? Have I taught them all the things the teacher will expect?"
What if I told you the absolute best thing you can do to prepare a child for Kindergarten is read to them from the day they are born? Really. No need to spend time using flashcards when they are toddlers or preschoolers in a drill and kill fashion. Just start reading to your child early on—every day. If you don’t have a routine yet or didn’t start early, start now: read stories and books 15-20 minutes each day. Spend time engaging with your child by asking questions, pointing to pictures, laughing and crying at wherever the story leads.
Research has shown time and time again the success of children who have been read to. Children who were not read to spend years making up for lost time. From ages 0-3 the brain of a child is forming, making connections, and soaking up all the information and experiences in life. The best time to start exposing children to reading and new vocabulary is during these early years. Do you need more information to help you start? These will get you going . . .
THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK
By Jim Trelease
You know when a book is on its 7th edition that it must have some good information! Jim Trelease has continued to update the statistics of his handbook that was originally released in 1982. He answers the why, when, and how of reading aloud. He includes stories of people who have been impacted by experiences with reading aloud to their children. There is a treasury of read aloud books in the back which Trelease updates in every edition, especially for those who are new to the idea of reading aloud and are wondering what books to start with.
Fox’s enthusiasm for reading to children is contagious. This quick read is a perfect jump-start to inspire parents and educators to implement more reading aloud. If you already have been reading aloud to children, it is the reminder that what you are doing is important. When a child is between the ages of 0-3 the benefits are not always as obvious right away; it is reassuring to know that spending the necessary time reading aloud to children is worth it.
THIRTY MILLION WORDS: BUILDING A CHILD’S BRAIN: TUNE IN, TALK MORE, TAKE TURNS
By Dana Suskind
This is a heavily research-based guide on the importance of speaking and engaging with children in the early years. Suskind, a medical doctor, has found through her practice that the success of cochlear implants depend on the involvement of parents who spend time talking and interacting with their children. It doesn’t matter if the children have the ability to hear if there is no one helping them exercise those new abilities. Suskind started an initiative to educate parents, using what she has learned about the importance of her easily implemented “Tune in, Talk More, and Take Turn” program. Every child benefits when they have caregivers who know how powerful these simple ideas are in the life of a child.