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Child’s Literacy Matters They Say…


I am a full-time working mother of three beautiful children. My two boys and my girl are my world. I do have to brag that my sons are doing well in their honor classes while my daughter is beyond excited to start elementary school this year. However, I have to point out there is one difference between my boys and my girl: My sons hate to read, and my daughter loves to read. Why is that? What did I do differently with my boys than with my girl?

Child's Literacy: This Journey Begins Early

Well, with my first two kids the family daily schedule was going to working full-time, school, aftercare, cooking dinner, homework, baths, and then bed leading to exhausting days. I occasionally fit in a bed time story when I felt up to it… then wake up the next morning at 6AM and repeat.

Sound familiar? I have to attribute my boys school success to their wonderful teachers; however, it began to sink in that their lack of enthusiasm for reading possibly fell on me. When I learned about research showing that by the age of two a child’s brain is as active as an adult’s and by age three their brains are more than twice as active as an adult’s, and it remains this way for the next ten years of their lives.

That’s when I realized how a child’s journey with literacy begins at birth. So, I took action and began reading to my youngest when she was still in my tummy. After she was born, I found ways to read to her while she was in her crib. My husband and I worked together to figure out how to cut 15 to 30 minutes out of our hectic evening schedules to make room for reading time.

6 Tips do Make Room for Reading Time

  1. Cook enough dinner, so we would have leftovers the next day.
  2. Cook healthy 30-minute meals.
  3. Get the kids to help around the house.
  4. Have my boys start homework while at aftercare.
  5. Cut back on TV time.
  6. Create a reading zone.

What I soon discovered as my daughter grew older is how our reading together created a bonding and learning experience for both of us. Now she is starting to question the logic in some kid’s books and is growing into an inquisitive reader and listener.

Encouraging Critical Thinking

By the age of three more than 85% of their brain is developed. Their young brains are sponges at this stage and ready to learn new things. I believe this to be true. One evening we were reading a story and she said, “Mommy, rocks don’t roll up the hill, they roll down. So, how do the rocks carry other rocks up the hill if they have no hands or feet? That doesn’t make any sense. Why didn’t the author give the rocks hands and feet? That would make the story more real.” At a young age my girl was learning critical thinking!

As parents, we need to take advantage of this time frame and fill their brains with as much information as we possibly can. Thus, early reading, I believe, makes a huge difference in how we look at the world around us, process information, and encourage creative solution thinking. I had to figure out how to get my boys interested in reading while young brains were still developing at such a critical age. They did not have the same literacy start in life that my daughter had, so how was I going to fix this?

The Right Books Can Turn Kids Into Bookworms!

I noticed at book fairs there were certain books they would buy and read in one day. So, they did LIKE to read! Once I figured out that they really loved books such as Diary of a Wimpy Kids and Captain Underpants. This tells me that all kids love to read, they just need to find the right books and turn into readers! So, I knew I could turn my boys into readers!

How can parents use this information to their advantage?

Suggestions for Raising a Child That Loves to Read

  1. Don’t wait. Start now. If you’re pregnant, start reading to your unborn child.
  2. Make story time part of your daily routine.
  3. Be a child with your child. When reading, make the experience entertaining, fun, and enjoyable
    to encourage reading. Give the characters a voice and bring the story to life as you read.
  4. Create your own stories via oral story telling. Pull on your child’s creative mind and imagination: Ask questions such as: Where will the story take place? Who will be the main character? Will there be a villain? What will the story be about?
  5. Turn playtime at home and the playground into story time.
  6. Try different books and see which type sticks with your child. See which shows the child loves to watch and find books that depicts that genre. (detective, mystery, funny, mystical creatures, space, animals, video game characters, etc.)
  7. While driving or walking with a child or giving the child a bath, turn it into story time using the things around you.
  8. Be creative when conversing with a preschooler. Use short sentences and spell some of the words. Example: Suzie, I said, “n-o”… “Y-e-s, we can g-o.”
Above all, be sure the experience is enjoyable, playful, and encourages children’s active involvement. Literacy should be engaging for both you and your children, not a chore.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Dr. Seuss
Child’s literacy matters they say. Yes, it matters! Reading is Key! Start now!


About the Writer

18 Responses

  1. Congratulations! This is a wonderful article on your journey, Karlene. I’m going to Share it on my Facebook page! Thanks.

    1. Greetings my Mark-Alan and as a successful preschool teacher for over four years and author of Word Up! that promotes and supports language & literacy development for children 0-8 that prepares them for third (3rd) grade reading readiness which is the grade that the American prison industry can predict future inmates based on their reading proficiency. Language & Literacy for children begins at conception and when a mother, father, etc. reads to the child from the conception it produces extraordinary results (However there are other environmental factors). In my 2017 preschool class I had a five year old boy who could read fluently and we allowed him to read to his classmates and he loved it. Moreover, his mother was a teacher and she read to him while he was in the womb and his TV time was limited. Too many TV shows. YouTube channels, music etc. are toxic for children. The Mark-Alan 100 Children Rhyming Book Series is supported by evidence base research of the Rollins Center for Language & Literacy Atlanta Speech School and their Cox Campus where I received some of my training.

  2. Karlene, that was a very good article. It is easy for us as parents to make excuses for not reading to our children. I have found, as you have, reading to our children not only stimulates their already active brain, but also brings you closer to your child. It is worth the effort. God bless you.

    1. Thanks for reading our article and for your comment; much appreciated. I agree, when we read to our children it benefits us too by bringing us closer to them. Well said.

  3. Reading to young children daily is critical for their educational development. Experts have noted that 85 to 90 percent of brain growth occurs in the first five years of a child’s life. Reading to your child, 20 minutes everyday, increases vocabulary by over a million words by pre-school age. Children also mimic adult behavior, so it is crucial that parents read as well, visit libraries and have books in the home.

  4. Wonderful article, Karlene!!! As a recently retired teacher and mother, I agree with EVERYTHING you mentioned in the article. I would like to add some advice though. When riding in the car, parents should consider listening to books on CD or audible. My daughter is a voracious reader, and that’s what we did everyday. When she got older, we actually listened to some of the books on her school’s reading list for middle school. I actually enjoyed listening to them with her, and I asked her “wondering” questions as to what she thought would happen next. We had so much fun reading a different way!!!

  5. What a wonderful article, and oh so true. My son has been reading since age 4, and I attribute it simply to his being read to daily from a very young age. I still love being read to, audio books are wonderful for those long trips or commutes.

    1. Thanks for reading this article and for your kind words; much appreciated. Yes, audio books are a great tool for when in the car. There are many read aloud bedtime stories on YouTube which is a great resource to help keep a child reading and building vocabulary.

  6. Great article Karlene! You rock. All your thoughts were right on point & so vital to a child’s development. I was turned on to reading very early too, and am still an avid reader today.

  7. Great article, well done Karlene. My 4-year-old boy loves your books 📚 they are very unique and very inspiring and I agree with you, setting the standard at home is a key 🔑 to child development. Keep doing what you’re doing your legacy will prevail.

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