The Magical Method

I get asked frequently by parents wanting to know how to help improve their kid’s grades, get their toddler reading or simply have a better relationship with books. Guess what, it’s not hard, and can be great fun! It will entertain and delight them. It will strengthen the bonds between both of you! And all it takes is 15 minutes a day!

Sound too good to be true?

The Magical Method: taking time to read aloud to your child.

I cannot emphasize how important this simple and fun technique is to children’s reading and their learning in general. In an era of high-stakes testing and education reforms and revolutions, research has repeatedly proved that one simple parenting technique is among the most effective. Children who are read aloud to by parents get a head start in language and literacy skills and go to school better prepared.

“Reading aloud to young children, particularly in an engaging manner, promotes emerging literacy and language development and supports the relationship between child and parent,” concluded a 2008 review in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

In other words, reading that bedtime story may not only entertain and soothe Johnny, it may also develop his vocabulary, improve his ability to learn to read, and – perhaps most important – foster a lifelong love of books and reading.

Developing that passion for reading is crucial, according to Jim Trelease, author of the best-seller, “The Read-Aloud Handbook.” “Every time we read to a child, we’re sending a ‘pleasure’ message to the child’s brain,” he writes in the “Handbook.” “You could even call it a commercial, conditioning the child to associate books and print with pleasure.”

This reading “commercial” is critical when competition for a child’s attention is so fierce. Between television, movies, the internet, video games, and the myriad of after-school activities, the pleasures of sitting down with a book are often overlooked. In addition, negative experiences with reading – whether frustrations in learning to read or tedious “drill and kill” school assignments – can further turn children off from reading.

That can have long-term consequences. As Mr. Trelease succinctly puts it in his handbook, “Students who read the most, read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Conversely, those who don’t read much, cannot get better at it.”

Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is, according to the landmark 1985 report “Becoming a Nation of Readers,” “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.” Yet unfortunately in our “instant” society, this simple and pleasurable activity is becoming less and less frequent.

Some Interesting Statistics

  • More than 1 in 3 children arrive at Kindergarten without the basic literacy skills necessary to progress. Thus, our teachers must spend valuable time getting these students “up to speed.”
  • Only 48% of young children are read to each day.
  • More than 15% of young children are read to fewer than 3x per week.
  • 15 minutes a day over 5 years is 27,375 minutes
  • Only 48% of young children are read to each day.
  • More than 15% of young children are read to fewer than 3x per week.
  • 15 minutes a day over 5 years is 27,375 minutes

A Few of the Benefits of The Magical Method

The Magical Method helps in so many ways, here’s a list of just some of the “magic” that happens when you read aloud to your child:

  1. Language Development – The number of words that a child knows on entering kindergarten is a key predictor of their future success!
  2. Knowledge gained and shared
  3. Instills a Love of Reading
  4. Brain and cognitive development especially language development, from birth to age 3
  5. Literacy skill-building – Vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, familiarity with the written word.
  6. Bonding – it’s a great way to bond with your kids!

Please use The Magical Method each day, its a small investment that reaps huge rewards!

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