Reading broadens the mind and enriches the soul. It opens many doors beyond one’s imagination, and it’s very important for a child’s early development. While most parents rely on kindergarten or school to teach their child to read, getting a head start from a young age can give your child an advantage in multiple ways. The simple act of reading to your child can go a long way in their literacy development. Below, we’ll take a look at the many advantages that early readers stand to gain.
There is no ‘right’ age for a child to start learning how to read, but the average age is usually between 6-7 years old. The onset of a child’s reading depends on various factors, most prominently neurological differences in addition to social background and the possibility of having learning disabilities like dyslexia or ADHD. However, it has been proven that a child’s brain is at its prime development from the moment they are born until the age of three to six. It’s when they pick up social signals, sounds, build vocabulary, and grasp grammar. It strengthens their metalinguistic skills, which helps in literacy development.
Some parents mistakenly believe that even if their child is an early reader, as soon as they start school, their peers will eventually catch up, and it wouldn’t make a difference. However, the benefits of early reading, also known as precocious reading, are never-ending. Here are a few ways in which early readers have an advantage.
Babies are born with approximately 200 billion active brain cells. When they are properly stimulated through reading activities, the cells each develop 20,000 different branches that store information. The process of teaching a child how to read from an early age can further strengthen this ability and influence their brain development, making the process much easier for them.
Teaching a child to read early can develop a great sense of self-esteem and confidence in their abilities. They will be encouraged to go through the process of developing themselves with confidence. It also creates a sense of independence from a young when they are able to read without assistance. It also enhances the child’s imagination and creative self and develops skills in problem-solving. All of that will be an advantage when they are finally in a classroom because they won’t feel the pressure of learning in a hectic environment.
When a child is an early reader, they will be better prepared for kindergarten. Research shows that children who learn to read at an early age have a 32-million-word advantage in kindergarten over children with little to no reading experience. It also instills a love for learning and intensifies their curiosity. Furthermore, it’s proven to affect early academic success since precocious reading increases intelligence, enhances memory, and broadens general knowledge.
As a parent, you want the best for your child, and that includes reaping the advantages of being a precocious reader. You are responsible for providing the right environment, tools, and resources that promote early learning. Fortunately, with just a few clicks, you can find a dedicated website that will help you get a head start on the reading process. You’ll need to do your fair share of research to provide a fun yet rich learning experience for your little one. Here are a couple of basic tricks you can use:
Start talking to your child about letters and numbers from a young age to develop print awareness. Draw attention to the text on things they come in contact with on a daily basis, like on their favorite snack. Put labels on objects around the house and have them read them aloud when they use it. Keep them close while reading a book or give them a page of the newspaper you’re going through, even if it’s just to play with. The process should be natural without any pressure.
Once your child is around three years old, you can incorporate some reading activities into playtime. Teach them how to write their name and hang it up for encouragement. Play a game that connects sounds to words or have them tell stories while you write them down and read it back to them during bedtime. If your child loves his tablet or playing with your smartphone, use it as a teaching tool by downloading children’s books.
Ultimately, you need to remember that each child has their own unique mind and capabilities. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and your child to make them an early reader. While it can be beneficial, the pressure could create an opposite effect, and your child might grow to dislike reading and develop anxiety from learning. Make it fun, and light is your best bet when it comes to encouraging your child to develop a love of reading.