Sunday, 20 January 2013

Raising early readers- good or bad?

I was reading an old thread in a local parenting forum about raising early readers. One parent argued that it isn't necessary to teach children to read early because early readers may not be avid readers and it does not mean they are more intelligent.
I find nothing to disagree with that argument. I absolutely think it right.
Still, i want to raise early readers.
1) Being an avid reader doesn't happen magically over night. The seed has to be planted, watered and taken care of. Reading habit needs to be nurtured. You can't do nothing and hope & wish that your kids will be readers one day. You need to instill that habit into their daily living. I find the best years to do this is when they are between the age of 0-3 years old. The earlier the better. I am not saying it will be impossible to raise readers in older kids but it will come with a set of challenges. With younger kids, you have a captive audience. These are the best years to 'take them into hostage'! Sounds manipulative doesn't it? But i rather 'manipulate' than to be hands off & let the harsh forces of the world to influence them. I choose to be the better parent here, thank you very much.
2) I don't believe for one moment that early readers will become intelligent kids. But i think the earlier they read, the more books they will be exposed to. And the more they read, the more knowledge they'll acquire and many doors will be opened to them. Again, 0-5 years old are the best years to expose them to reading habit because they read with no scepticism, no pre-conceived ideas like us adults. They take information as it is. For instance, when they read 'This is a tree', they won't go, 'why is this a tree? It does not look like a tree to me! I need proper research to support this statement!'. :D
I don't know about you but i see only benefits in raising early readers. Even there are no benefits, there is no harm either, so why not? If there is only one thing we take from raising readers, that would be giving us parents another way to bond with our kids. That alone is good enough a reason to raise readers!
Anyway, i enjoy reading myself and i want my kids to pick up this wonderful habit. I am glad that sonshine loves books. He says that one of things why he likes school is he gets to read books (other than playing, of course). And i am also delighted babydoll enjoys our reading session and would have no reservation about stopping her play to read books with me. With an older brother who reads, babydoll also love to follow suit by taking a book, any book, and 'read' (with all the random pointing) to herself. :D
A lovely sight to greet me in the morning!
While waiting for me to wake up from my snooze, sonshine would voluntarily & quietly read his books.
In my effort to raise early readers, here are some of things i do religiously
1) read to my kids everyday- yes even to sonshine though he is an independent reader. I want to read to them for as long as i can, even if that means when they are 18! :) When sonshine was babydoll's age, i made a point to read 3 times a day! Unfortunately, i don't have the luxury or energy to do the same for doll. :I
2) Books are readily available and well within reach. The books are on the lower shelf and in a box, on the floor. The kids know where to get the books. Sometimes i may even find doll in the room by herself, flipping her books. Lovely sight to behold!
3) I bring my children to library every week. I want my kids to have the habit of visiting the library and borrowing books. Both kids love trips to the library & for sonshine it is a must! 

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