Developmental and cultural importance of reading aloud

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. — Emilie Buchwald

Literacy enriches a child’s life far beyond the act of reading. Many studies demonstrate a variety of long term benefits such as improved communication skills, greater confidence, and higher academic achievements. Early literacy lays the foundation for further learning by expanding vocabulary and heightening phonological awareness, including bilingual differences. It is also meant to be a pleasurable experience, one in which many can attest to the enjoyment that reading aloud provides children and their families.

Family literacy practices have been shown to be the biggest influence on emergent readers. After all, family members are the primary behavior models for their children. And children raised in an environment with greater exposure to reading adapt to the practice with a greater ease than children who are not. The age of early literacy, the time prior to kindergarten, is the best opportunity for children to absorb the knowledge that will help them throughout their lives.

For parents unsure on how to go about engaging in early literacy practices with their children, the local public library can be a great help. Besides offering a variety of materials for emergent readers there are early literacy programs on how to best encourage reading skills within context of the child’s natural learning environment. Activities such as storytimes and reading programs are meant to create an encouraging atmosphere for families to share with their young children. As a community institution, the public library is dedicated to representing the needs of its patrons, young and young at heart, as they go through this important learning experience.