Side door, Chartres
Most doors, even the most massive and impregnable doors, can be opened with a key that fits into a child's hand.
Routine bedtime stories are the key to creating successful and lifelong readers.
According to the leading study Becoming a Nation of Readers (Anderson et al. 1985), reading aloud is recognized as “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.”
Reading aloud to children prepares them for reading success in the following ways:
- Reading, by definition, is "meaningful interaction with text." When parents read aloud to children, they offer children the opportunity to clarify meaning of the plot, to discuss illustrations, to qualify new vocabulary, and, most importantly, to enjoy the process together.
- Children develop strong positive emotional ties with books. They associate feelings of comfort and worthiness in the time parents spend in reading to them. They also develop a sense of empathy with characters in stories.
- When parents read text aloud, they model reading fluency. Children gain the ability to read smoothly and in a conversational manner.
- Vocabulary development is a key component to reading success. Children encounter far more new vocabulary words in print than they do in conversation (so do adults, of course). A study by Hayes and Athens (1988) claims that when adults talk with other adults, they use about 17 rare words* for every 1,000 words. When an adult talks to a ten-year old child, they will use approximately 11 rare words for every 1,000. In contrast, children’s books use 30 rare words for every 1,000; almost twice as many rare words as an adult conversation. (*Rare words are words that are outside our basic 10,000 word conversational vocabulary.
- Children develop better listening skills, especially if the topic or title has been selected by the child. When selecting books to read aloud, parents can further increase the child's reading ability and knowledge base if they provide informational text (non-fiction) as well as fiction on a topic that interests the child.
If I could give one gift to every new parent, it would be for them to realize the vast importance of a seemingly simple task....to give their children the key to lifelong reading success....A Bedtime Story.