Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Reading With Your Child

By Educational SFC Writer Alice Knisley Matthias
On the rare occasion when I can get several things accomplished at the same time I consider it to be a major gold star on my Mommy report card.  I did it last week by volunteering at one of my children’s schools for the Scholastic Book Fair.  I helped out as a parent at the school, shopped with my son when his class attended the fair and got to do a little market research seeing what titles, topics and genres made the children’s little faces light up.  Technology is constantly competing for a child’s attention so it was reassuring to see kids completely enthralled by actual books in their hands.
When my first child was born I discovered that every parent has their own sanity deal breaker.  Mine was that I had to read a newspaper every day.  I was consumed by the care of a new baby but at the end of the day I needed to know more than what the letter of the day was on Sesame Street.  As my child entered toddler territory he would play at my feet as I struggled to finish an article in the newspaper.  I started to feel that now that he was on the move maybe I couldn’t get my daily dose of real world news anymore. 
That is when I remembered a key element about children and reading development.  I was actually doing something that is an influential factor in a young child’s life when learning to read.  He was observing me reading for myself.  Child psychologists advocate that a child benefits from seeing a parent or caregiver reading.  It helps a child’s development in creating a positive outlook for reading in the early years and it also helps to foster a love of reading as an enjoyable pastime.  No tool on the market can provide that.
Reading with your child shouldn’t be limited to just you reading a story with your child.  Children should have some quiet time observing an adult read as the child focuses on his or her choice of book as a form of reading time as well.  There is so much that beeps and lights up and flashes in a child’s world today we must help children retain the delight of getting lost in a good story.  Who isn’t hooked at the classic first line of “Where’s Papa going with that ax?”  Do you recall what timeless children’s book that opening sentence is from?  It was at the book fair.

Be well, 


  1. Charlotte's Web, of course! And what a wonderful blog post this is, Alice. I just recently had a conversation with some friends about the importance of kids seeing adults read, and specifically of boys seeing men read. (I enjoyed your description of creative multi-tasking, too!)



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