Promoting literacy to children in the home environment is instrumental to their future emotional, social, and academic success. While reading may not seem to stretch across a variety of dimensions, it is an integral part of children's lives. Literacy provides children with a sound emotional structure that encourages a sense of self-worth and well-being.
How is this possible? When parents read to their children, the simple act of sitting down and reading a book provides a sense of emotional stability. This is due to the natural dynamic of enjoying a story together, since both parent and child are intricately involved in the process. Even if your child cannot technically "read", he or she can feel connected to the story and the reading process.
Parents can question the child throughout the story, drawing on his prior experiences. Feeling connected to a story or character is an essential component of literacy and social growth. Also, a child of any age can be encouraged to point out objects of interest in illustrations, thereby promoting the inclusion of prior experiences of children who are less than one year old.
Literacy is vital to a child's future academic success, since our educational system strongly depends on a person's ability to read and extract information from what has been read. Without a sturdy foundation in reading, a child will suffer greatly in all facets of her schooling. Parents play a vital role in promoting a robust reading environment in the home.
Early and constant exposure to print in a variety of forms will prove indispensable to a child's academic growth and achievement. Parents of older children who have already mastered the phonetic and technical components of literacy also need to promote a literacy-rich environment in the home. Older children need to see their parents reading regularly, since this provides non-verbal support of the importance of reading.
Having a family reading time each night is an easy way to ensure your older child reads for pleasure and sees you doing the same. Again, the child will feel the connection to his or her family structure by the simple act of reading. Each family member can read a book individually, or the group can read a book aloud together. Either way, sharing the literature experience provides a sense of emotional well-being as well as promoting scholastic success.
Parents need to instill in their children an early affinity to the written word from the beginning of their lives. They will find that the rewards of doing this will be rich and long-lasting.