Early Childhood Reading

Today I read a very interesting article in our local newspaper, The Murray Valley Standard. The article included details of a recent visit to the district of children’s author, teacher and academic, Mem Fox. She is the author of the picture book Possum Magic, probably the most popular Australian children’s picture book world-wide.

Mem Fox is passionate about promoting children’s books and reading in particular. She is a strong advocate of the importance of parents reading to children from an early age.

She said if parents did not invest early in childhood reading their child would struggle in school. “I’m just getting crosser and crosser at those who are blaming teachers for their children not being able to read,” she said. “My main message is that parents should be reading to their children from the first weeks of their life. It only needs to be for 10 minutes [a day].”

I whole-heartedly agree with her. For 35 years I was a teacher of children mainly in the 6 to 9 age range. For eight of those years I was a teacher-librarian, a role where I could influence the classroom practices of teachers. But I was generally talking to the converted as most teachers know the benefits of parents reading to their children. Convincing the parents was a more difficult task.

Reading to and with children, especially pre-schoolers, is THE one very positive activity parents can do to ensure the future educational outcomes for their children.

It is not just important; it is crucial.

What do you think? Leave your comments about children and reading in the comments below.

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