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The Gift That Keeps on Giving
by Lisa West
(Article to be published in the Daily Journal--Submitted Jan. 11, 1999)
You can give your child a gift even though the holidays are over. It is a gift that will keep on giving. It is easy and can be inexpensive. It only takes a bit of your time at first, until you realize how great it is. Then you may want to devote more and more time to it. The gift is simply to read to your child. The benefits are immediate and they last a lifetime.
The rewards that reading has to offer begin as early as birth. Reading to an infant can be soothing as well as educational as he or she learns to discriminate among various sounds and language patterns. As an infant grows into a toddler, reading exposes the child to a wide variety of vocabulary, as well as pictures of places and things that the child may not otherwise get a chance to see. A local organization, Friends of the Library, recognizes the importance of reading to young children. It donates a book to every newborn at Falls Memorial Hospital in order to encourage parents to read to their child right away.
How many of you have memories of being read to as a child? Personally speaking, I have wonderful, warm memories of snuggling up next to my father and listening to him read a wide variety of stories using animated voices. I looked so forward to that time. Reading to your child and giving the positive attention that naturally goes along with it, is another way to show your child that he or she is loved.
Reading to your child will inevitably help him or her be better prepared for school. According to the 1985 article Becoming a Nation of Readers, published by the U.S. Department of Education, The single most important thing that influences primary grade reading achievement is having someone read to a child on a regular basis. Its never too late to start. A publication titled The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research by Stephen Krashen states that Children who are read to regularly for several months make superior gains in reading comprehension and vocabulary. You can start today and your child will benefit!
By reading to your child you are encouraging him or her to become a reader. Research shows that good reading skills lay the foundation for academic success. Reading. Its something we may take for granted now, but at one time it was a mystery to us. Do you remember learning to decode those first words and how incredible it felt to be able to read a sentence, a page, a story? All of a sudden the keys to unlock the information all around you was within your power. Readers can reach out and touch the world. They can put themselves in others shoes. Readers are powerful.
Reading is another way to pass down your values, expose your child to other cultures, help your child learn to appreciate beauty, and add humor to your childs life. Today, childrens books have many award-winning illustrations and cover a wide variety of interests. They are fun even for adults to read.
Give this precious gift to those you love, and watch it grow and continue to give for a lifetime.
-- Anonymous, January 12, 1999
Wonderful!! I enjoyed your article and look forward to reading it in the Daily Journal! I think that many parents will appreciate your article. I know it was a reminder to ME how important, valuable and REWARDING snuggling up with a good book can be with your children!! Thank you!! My kids will ALWAYS stop what they are doing for a story... it can even soften a rough spot in the day!! thank you for the reminder... they especially love to hear stories from their daddy!!
-- Anonymous, January 18, 1999
Contract for an "A".
-- Anonymous, January 24, 1999