Through this job I have gained a lot of sympathy for anyone learning to read. The English language is not the most straight-forward langauge. It has to be overwhelmingly difficult to remember all the rules for each letter and sound, especially when those rules often contradict other rules. It is truly amazing that our brains are capable of retaining the rules of language and that anyone can learn to read.
In a recent article from Science Daily titled: "Reading to Kids a Crucial Tool in English Language Development," George Georgiou, an educational psychology professor at the University of Alberta, discussed the importance of parents reading to their children. The article brought up three important benefits of reading aloud to children:
1. Reading to a child is a positive activity which helps strengthen the bond between a parent and a child.
2. Reading to a child teaches a child that the parent values reading and creates positive reinforcement for the child to enjoy and engage in reading.
3. Reading to a child increases a child’s understanding of the rules and sounds in the English language.
The rest of this post will focus on the third benefit: reading to a child increases a child’s understanding of the rules and sounds in the English language. This concept is called orthography, the study of the letters and spelling in a language. English is a difficult language to learn because it does not have consistent rules of orthography. The rules of the English language allow letters to have multiple sounds, unlike some of the other languages. For example, Greek and Finnish only have one sound for each letter and are thus much easier to learn. The importance of reading aloud to children learning the English language is a result of this concept. Reading to children helps them learn the various sounds and language rules of the English language. Georgiou makes the following points about reading aloud to children:
"We have found that in English, you need a rich home literacy environment. It's absolutely necessary."
"In English, having someone read to you frequently as a child- explaining what the meaning of words are and playing around with the letters- makes a big difference as to whether you will become a good reader."
Read with your child today to provide your child with these 3 benefits!
If your child struggles with reading, sign up for 30 days of free access to Reading Horizons Online Training for Parents to learn how to teach them strategies that will help them decode any length of word!