Early literacy: is it ever too early to start?
My response would be a definite “No.” A baby’s brain begins forming connections very quickly after birth, and these are the connections that will build the foundation for life-long learning. It’s estimated that around 90 percent of a children’s brain development occurs by the age of 5, which makes learning experiences so critical early in life.
I remember reading to Ryan as an infant. One of my favorites was “How much do I love you.” Reading was an activity we did every night. By the time he was a toddler, he was pointing at the figures on the page and helping me turn the pages. Why read stories to your child? When you read to your child, they are hearing new words beyond those they hear at home as the family goes about its daily business of getting ready for school, eating, bedtime, and shopping. Through reading, children hear more complex and sophisticated language, which becomes the building blocks of their literacy and language development.
There is some interesting but rather startling data as to the amount of reading parents did pre pandemic and during the pandemic. There was a dramatic decline in the amount of reading done during the pandemic in the homes of families struggling with poverty. Children did not attend school, parents lost jobs, how would parents find the time to read? So, children, especially the early learners, returned to school and are now struggling to meet the reading benchmarks. Research indicates that struggling readers in first grade are 88% more likely to be struggling readers in 4th grade. That is why there is so much attention on 3rd grade reading scores because if our children are not on track by the end of third grade their chances for success decrease substantially.
So, if you are a mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, pull out your books and start reading… I am.