Dr. Paul B. Yellin believes that you can begin reading to children “as early as one week old; it can help them differentiate the sounds that makeup words.”
I am a firm believer that reading to young children not only makes them good readers themselves but good writers as well.
I started reading to my son when he was very young, but more often when he was three years old. By the time he was seven years old, he had his library and often read his books. Now he is a writer, an extraordinary one. He is also very knowledgeable about things that I would not even think to read. I believe just by reading to him. He has become a good reader at a very young age (age 4) and a good writer.
I’ve noticed that Early Childhood teachers don’t read to their students as they should, and if they do, they run through the books without feelings, nor do they involve their students in the process. I think it is essential to bring the stories you read to life. Give them voices, and bring out the sounds in the story. Involve your students in the process by asking them open-ended questions like ” What do you think happens next?”
I also think it is essential to make up your own stories and relate them to the students in your classroom or the theme you are discussing. Use your flannel board to help reiterate what the story is about.
Most importantly, give your students a chance to read the books to the class. I know many teachers disagree with this. I have heard many times from teachers that “students can’t read.” This is partially true, they can’t read the words, but they can read the pictures. What will it hurt to let them try?
Reading books is more than just the reading of stories. It is about language, literacy, sounds, the correct way to handle a book, turning the pages from beginning to end, and how letters turn into words. It teaches students the importance of a book and how it applies to the other things they are learning: the freedom to imagine and anticipation to an exciting end.
Here is a helpful hint: When you have read a book to your class, you want to reread it. Test your students to see how much they have retained from the previous read. It’s fun for them, and it involves them in the reading process. Also, involve your students in how a book is made, explain what the author does and the illustrator. My students love reviewing the parts of the book; the front, back, and binding.
I asked my students why is it important for them to know where the front of the book is? How will they know where the front of the book is if you don’t review it with them. Then I explained, you have to know where the beginning of the book starts.