What’s the best tool to teach literacy? “Just reading to your child,” says Lise Eliot, assistant professor of neuroscience at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science. The number of words children are exposed to in early life actually determines their own verbal intelligence and affects performance in language art classes when children get to school, Eliot says.
Another great thing about books is that they “take you out of your daily world into another one, another vocabulary. It allows children to visualize,” Eliot says. “And finally, there is some evidence that simply being read to helps children acquire all the pre-literacy skills such as understanding that text goes from left to right, understanding that there is a break between words, and starting to recognize their ABCs,” Eliot says. All this is critical to the transition to independent reading, “and the earlier children are read to, the easier their transition to reading themselves.”
Download the Art to Heart Reading Primer for Parents (PDF format) for tips on how to make reading a part of your own and your child’s daily lives.