As parents, you want only the best for your children. You work hard to provide for their physical needs and to nurture their self-confidence and self-esteem. You seek out the best educational opportunities to give them every possible advantage to succeed academically –the best school you can find — the best after-school program available — the best tutors if necessary. All of these factors offer your child the best possible chance to achieve excellence. But without one critical component, the ability to read –the words themselves, and the comprehension of those words – your child’s intellectual development and subsequent well-being will be seriously inhibited and limited.
Reading comprehension is obviously key to learning other subjects – even mathematics and the sciences. I shudder to think of errors that could be committed by doctors, scientists, or bankers with poor reading skills. Of all the subjects your child must learn, reading is the most important. And outside of the classroom, reading is just as important or perhaps even more so. Reading opens up the world to the reader. It takes you to new places, different people and cultures, and diverse ideas to expand your life. It exposes you to the beauty of language and the power of the written word. It enhances your life in every way — academically, intellectually, recreationally, and spiritually.
So, what can you do, as a parent, to insure that your children become good readers? First and foremost, read to your children from their earliest days; and read to them everyday. It will become a bonding ritual like none other. As children start to read on their own, have them read to you or their siblings or even to their pets (researched-based !). Again, this should be a daily activity. If you see that your child is struggling with reading, speak with his or her teacher immediately regarding extra help and intervention. Time is of the essence. And remediation is highly successful.
And most importantly, set an example yourself of reading books, newspapers, online information, etc., and then sharing with your children what you have learned or enjoyed and what an important role reading plays in your life.
Happy reading to you and your children!
Marie Brown is a leading education specialist who has won many awards including the Distinguished Leadership in Education Award and the Outstanding Achievement in Education Award in the US.