If you are the parent of a child aged four to six years of age, it helps to think of school as the first step into the wider world beyond your child’s home.
Every parent says they want their child to have a good future. The key to that future is learning to read.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know,” said that amazingly funny writer Dr. Seuss. “The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” The more you read to your child, the better prepared they will be to read and do well in school.
The wider world beyond your home can be open to a child who reads. Without reading, the door to that world, will remain closed. Reading is the key that opens the lock on the door to the world.
When you read to your child, or when they read to you, you are helping to prepare them for school. You are getting them comfortable with words, with sentences, with ideas that challenge them.
Why is reading important?
•Jobs. The economy is changing rapidly. Almost all decent jobs today and in the future will require an advanced understanding of computers and technology. If you can’t read well, you can’t understand the job you need to do.
•Citizenship. The United States is a country that requires participation by its citizens for the government to work. If you can’t read, you won’t have much of a say in how you are governed. Reading gives you the words to speak to the government and your fellow citizens.
•Imagination. Reading is an adventure of the mind. It helps your child to move beyond thinking about themselves to thinking about the wider world and what that world is like. Reading helps get your child ready to live in the wider world.
•Fun. Reading can take you to worlds beyond your living room, from the wild west of cowboys to astronauts flying through space to the moon, to fairy princesses to brave knights fighting for justice. It will transport your child to other worlds of possibility.
When I worked in a school in Queens, I once asked a parent, a working mom, to have her son read to her when she got home from work. She said to me, “I’m tired when I get home from work. I just want to watch TV.” So she and her son watched TV at night instead of reading.
Teachers understand that taking the time to read to your child, and having them read to you, may be difficult, considering your very busy schedules.
But ignoring the need to read means you are caught up in the present moment and you’re not thinking about the future.
And children are all about the future. When we don’t read to our children, we forget the future. And if we forget the future, the future will forget us.
So, read to your child, and have them read to you as much as possible! Their future depends on it. Open up a book and you open up a new world, everyday. Feel the need to read, every day.
P.S. 194 First Grade Teacher