A child not reading at grade level by the end of first grade has an 88% chance of not reading at grade level by 4th grade, according to a 2012 study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation study.
A child’s overall exposure to books and language prior to first grade contributes to these reading skills. While a child might not be as a baby, knowing how to hold a book, recognizing that the text is upside down – even if the child can’t read the letters, and increasing attention spans are all skills gained by young listeners, which helps them as they get ready to read.
It’s never too early to read to your child. Before a baby’s born, parents can read to their baby. Researchers at Pacific Lutheran University found that a newborn has the ability to learn and remember sounds of their mother’s language from 30 weeks.
So go ahead and read to your baby during your pregnancy or as soon as you can after birth. During a baby’s first few years of life, neural connections are being formed at a rate of 1 million per second.
Like any good habit formation, be consistent. Read to your child each and every day for fifteen minutes. This time could be before going to bed or to take a nap each day. It doesn’t haven’t to be in one sitting. Fifteen minutes may seem like a lot on days when you may be exhausted, busy, or not feeling well, but over the course of a year, those daily doses of fifteen minute reading times add up to 91.25 hours.
15 minutes daily X 365 days = 91.25 hours each year
Encourage independent readers
As your child becomes an independent reader, encourage reading daily for fifteen minutes to continue the progress made. This reading stamina will carryover in to the classroom, as teachers encourage children to increase the amount of independent reading over time.