Menu

Ready to Read: Heading for the Classroom

By: U.S. Department of Education
What parents do or don't do in the preschool years has a lasting impact on children's reading ability. Learn some facts about the importance and need for literacy experiences in the primary grades.

Parents are truly their children's first and most important teachers. It is clear that parents should not leave to schools alone the important tasks of language and literacy development.

  • Reading to a child for 30 minutes per day from infancy helps prepare a child to learn. A five-year old who has not been read to daily will enter kindergarten with far fewer hours of "literacy nutrition" than a child who has been read to daily from infancy. No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours.
  • Parents who value reading are more likely to visit the library and give books as gifts. Access to quality reading material should continue throughout a child's school years. The National Association of Education Professional's 1998 Reading Report Card found that students with higher reading scores were more likely to report four types of reading material in their homes-encyclopedias, magazines, newspapers, and at least 25 books.
  • Parents cannot assume that schoolwork makes up for too much TV. Children of all ages watch as much TV in one day as they read for fun in an entire week. Overall, children under age 13 spend 90 minutes a day in front of the TV-one-quarter of their free time.
  • Adults pass on to children their own expectations about education and achievement, both positive and negative. Shared enthusiasm about books and reading between a parent and child can deepen the child's interest in learning to read. Children who learn from parents that reading is fun may be more likely to sustain efforts to learn to read when the going gets tough.
Fast Facts on Raising Readers. What Families Can Do. America Reads Challenge, U.S. Department of Education.

Reprints

You are welcome to print copies for non-commercial use, or a limited number for educational purposes, as long as credit is given to Reading Rockets and the author(s). For commercial use, please contact the author or publisher listed.

Add comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
Sign up for our free newsletters about reading
Advertisement
Reading Blogs
Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore
Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.
"There is no frigate like a book, to take us lands away" — Emily Dickinson