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Most young children are not read to on a daily basis. - Page 6

post #101 of 166
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Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
wow mammal mama - I guess i got you really upset. I'm sorry...
That's okay. As I've read more of your posts, it's occurred to me that, had dd1 remained an only child, I'd probably still be thinking a lot like you.

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I seriously can't comprehend a kid that doesn't like books.
Actually, I never meant to imply that dd2 doesn't like books -- as I think I've already mentioned, from an early age she's been looking at them herself, intently studying the pictures and talking about what she sees. She just hasn't wanted to be read to -- though that has been changing of late.

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I've seriously never met one unless there were also other issues like hyper activity due to watching too much tv, eating sugar etc. Not to say they don't exist, just sharing my experiences with working with many children over the years.
Reading this makes me very glad that my second child is so different from my first in some ways; I think she's pulled me out of that judgmental mode, and opened me up to so much more appreciation for the whole of life, and for the different ways different people relate to the world.

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While I do think following a child's lead is good in some ways - we lean toward unschooling around here - I also think parents know what is best for a child in many ways too. I suggested introducing reading at 1 wk old or so because if it's introduced early enough then kids develop that attn span as they develop.
I really like what 4evermom just said --

"My favorite way to help a child develop attention span is to not distract him by showing him things when he is already doing something."

I used to think I knew more than my kids did, about what were the most valuable ways for them to spend their time. I'm glad that I started learning to see things through their eyes, instead of imposing my vision on them.

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I think why wait to intro them? They are such a fun thing to share!!
I love books myself, and agree that they're very fun to share -- when the child is enjoying the sharing.

Why wait to intro them? Since we have books all over our house, my younger child who didn't like being read to has been introducing books to herself, in her own way, for quite some time now. As well as hearing me read to her sister, and seeing me read to myself.

As far as the activism-aspect that KBecks mentioned, I think the best way to foster a love for reading in the future generation of parents, is for schools to stop having "assigned reading." Just take the kids to the library and turn them loose, let them check out whatever they want and spend all the time they want reading it.

Never penalize a child for being too busy reading to do homework (and, if you really want them to love reading, quit assigning homework at all and encourage them to spend their evenings exploring what interests them).

And let them spend lots of their classtime reading whatever catches their fancy -- whether it's a novel or a comic book. And don't penalize them for writing notes to each other during class -- since, as one librarian told me, "Writing is reading the other way around."

And if a child wants to spend her recess-time reading, let her, and don't worry that you have to make her "well-rounded." I was in second grade when I discovered how reading could take me into another world. I was miserable in school, so I tried to lose myself in a book as much as I could. But my teacher started taking my book from me as I headed out the door for recess.

Then my only outlet was to lose myself in an imaginary world, and I'd walk around among the trees at the edge of our playground, gesturing and talking to myself. Which made the kids think I was crazy, so the teachers put a stop to that by telling me I had to keep busy on the equipment, or else they'd force me into a competitive game ...

Of course, all this didn't kill my love for reading and imagining. But it did make me feel guilty whenever I enjoyed myself "too much" in these ways. It's hard to shake off that guilt, even today.
post #102 of 166
I thought I'd add that my love for books (as well as my love for my kids) is what holds me back from insisting on reading to them when they'd rather be doing something else.

It's kind of like, if you think your child's girlfriend/boyfriend will be the perfect mate, if you're wise you'll still take a step back and allow them space to fall in love and experience the romance for themselves.

You know if you're too pushy, there's a risk of turning your child off to a good thing, simply because s/he is feeling rushed or feeling pressured to do what makes you happy.

Love affairs (whether with people or books) are highly personal, individualized things -- no 2 are the same. I want my kids to feel the freedom to encounter books and love in their own way, and in their own good time.
post #103 of 166
Perhaps the best thing would be to agree that children of any age should have the opportunity to be read to daily if it's something that they enjoy? I mean, I got a bag of books at the hospital when Xander was born, but no one's checking up on me to make sure I'm reading them to my baby (honestly, the books I got weren't that wonderful -I prefer the ones I've bought myself). I think that parents and children should have access to reading resources/support and should have it in mind as an activity that could be a fun way to spend time together. It shouldn't be solely a fear-based thing or an effort to one-up other moms/babies, because then it's work and not fun.
post #104 of 166
Sorry about that teacher/reading experience!
My aunt grew up thinking reading was bad because her two older sisters were bookworms and their mother had to raise her voice to get their attention to do tasks like setting the table.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I really like what 4evermom just said --

"My favorite way to help a child develop attention span is to not distract him by showing him things when he is already doing something."
And think about how often people try to redirect behavior in young children by distraction. Often, one can just facilitate the child's exploration so they can satisfy their curiosity safely. Not that I think there is no place in parenting for distracting children but perhaps it shouldn't always be the first tool out of the toolbox.
post #105 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
T
And if a child wants to spend her recess-time reading, let her, and don't worry that you have to make her "well-rounded." I was in second grade when I discovered how reading could take me into another world. I was miserable in school, so I tried to lose myself in a book as much as I could. But my teacher started taking my book from me as I headed out the door for recess.

Then my only outlet was to lose myself in an imaginary world, and I'd walk around among the trees at the edge of our playground, gesturing and talking to myself. Which made the kids think I was crazy, so the teachers put a stop to that by telling me I had to keep busy on the equipment, or else they'd force me into a competitive game ...

Of course, all this didn't kill my love for reading and imagining. But it did make me feel guilty whenever I enjoyed myself "too much" in these ways. It's hard to shake off that guilt, even today.
I just wanted to say thank you for this post - I've been wondering why I never let myself just relax and read, and when I do, I feel ridiculously guilty- and reading your post all these memories flooded back of having my reading urges suppressed in school and by friends' parents ('go play outside', etc)...somehow reading was good, but not actually 'enjoying' reading... So reading your post really clicked a few things in place for me. I too used to tell stories to myself and create imaginary worlds

I've enjoyed reading this thread - there's a lot in here to think about. I was read to a lot from an early age, saw my parents read, and grew up loving books. My sister grew up the same but resisted reading and although she has a good vocabulary and writing skills, she's never been as voracious a reader as me...I think that is down to personality though. I read to my son and he loves it (he's 16 months), seems to have the attention span for it, and I've noticed has a much better vocabulary (such as it is) than the other same-aged kids I know (but that could be for other reasons too of course)...but I also know toddlers who won't sit still, and I think it would be terrible to force them to read...so it was interesting to read what you said about your different children, Mammal_mama. j

I think that rather than forcing books on children - and the reading logs do sound awful - just having books around, normalising them and reading to your children when this seems to be something they are happy with, would go a long way to developing literacy, imagination and language skills.
post #106 of 166
I just wanted to respond to the op - who restated her question on the last page - asking how we can be activists to encourage reading to children.

I think the main thing about reading to children is that they are participating in oral story telling.

There are many developmental theorists who believe it is actually talking to our children that increases their literacy - and reading to children is just one way of meaningfully talking to our children. Children who are regularly read to are having their parents sit down and dedicate 15-20 minutes a night in one-on-one storytelling.

As Mom's we can all understand how if we dont dedicate this reading time its really easy to get through the day with just short conversations. But that doesn't mean that reading is the only form of valuable communication. As children progress they develop a love for their own story telling and they the develop a love for reading others stories.

I agree that to encourage parents to read to their kids we should start by encouraging parents to read for enjoyment. Give parents free books and magazines, encourage any type of reading through engaging parents in whats meaningful for them and their community. Its not just about setting goals, its about encouraging that love for talking to each other.
post #107 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devaya View Post
I just wanted to say thank you for this post - I've been wondering why I never let myself just relax and read, and when I do, I feel ridiculously guilty- and reading your post all these memories flooded back of having my reading urges suppressed in school and by friends' parents ('go play outside', etc)...somehow reading was good, but not actually 'enjoying' reading... So reading your post really clicked a few things in place for me. I too used to tell stories to myself and create imaginary worlds
Your post really brings it home to me: It seems like the same institution that says it wants to promote love for reading, is the one actively sabatoging it.
post #108 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenmama2AJ View Post
I agree that to encourage parents to read to their kids we should start by encouraging parents to read for enjoyment. Give parents free books and magazines, encourage any type of reading through engaging parents in whats meaningful for them and their community. Its not just about setting goals, its about encouraging that love for talking to each other.
Bolding mine. Very well said!
post #109 of 166
This has been a very interesting discussion.

I think reading to children is important, but the parent really needs to respect their child. If they aren't ready (like my 10 mos old DS who won't sit still for nothin'), don't push them. I think if they have access to books and see other people reading, they will get interested in them eventually.

My DD is 3.5 and we read to her every night. She picks the book, we read. Some times she "reads" to us (from memorization). Now, I don't think being read to at night is any more important than being read to some time. Bedtime just happens to be a good time for us because our days are so busy (I'm a full-time student so I'm gone a lot). If I stayed home all day and we happened to read earlier in the day, that would be good enough for me. And, I don't think reading every single day is all that important either -- just as long as the child gets read to on a somewhat regular basis. In other words, I think it's beneficial to make sure the child is read to, at occasionally, so that it would benefit the child during each developmental period. I mean, reading to DD now at nearly 4 is a much different experience than it was a year ago. As she grows and learns more and develops, her involvement in the reading changes. Books play different roles during different periods in a child life and I just want to make sure I touch upon all of them.

Interestingly, I do not consider myself a bookworm. I do like to read and I do it well, but I'm not the type to pick up a book and read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Part of it is that I'm a slow reader and it takes me a long time, and another part is that reading novels just doesn't capture my interest for long periods of time. There tends to be other things I'd rather be doing (like baking).

In addition, I'm not one to enjoy fiction. I don't get "lost" in a fantasy world like my bookworm friends do. I just don't enjoy that kind of thing. (This is true of movies, too. Give me a documentary over fantasy, any day.) When I do read for pleasure, I read historical accounts or biographies or mathematical/scientific theories. If DD grows up and wants us to read fictional chapter books to her at bedtime, I think I'll have DH start doing the reading because I find the thought of having to do that really unappealing. He loves fantasy and fiction, so he's more suited to those stories anyway.

That being said, I do not read for pleasure much anymore. It's been a couple of years since I've had the chance. Nonetheless, I still read at least 2-3 hrs a day. I just happen to be in school, in a very challenging program that requires a ton of reading. I don't mind it, thankfully, but I owe that to my desire to read non-fiction. Between my text books and newspapers, I think I'm doing alright anyway.

My goal is two raise children who are able to read well and don't mind doing so. I'll be honest and say I'm not really concerned with whether they are bookworms or not. . .it's just not something that I find to be a positive or a negative. But I absolutely do want them to be able to read at a high level and develop a strong vocabulary and excellent comprehension. Likewise, I want them to be able to express well themselves through writing, a skill that is aided by reading. In the end, though, I'm not going to fret if books just aren't they're passion.
post #110 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
And if a child wants to spend her recess-time reading, let her, and don't worry that you have to make her "well-rounded." I was in second grade when I discovered how reading could take me into another world. I was miserable in school, so I tried to lose myself in a book as much as I could. But my teacher started taking my book from me as I headed out the door for recess.

Then my only outlet was to lose myself in an imaginary world, and I'd walk around among the trees at the edge of our playground, gesturing and talking to myself. Which made the kids think I was crazy, so the teachers put a stop to that by telling me I had to keep busy on the equipment, or else they'd force me into a competitive game ...

Of course, all this didn't kill my love for reading and imagining. But it did make me feel guilty whenever I enjoyed myself "too much" in these ways. It's hard to shake off that guilt, even today.
You just described my childhood down to the detail about the teacher's reigning you in and forcing you to participate. Absolutely unbelievable...

Anyway, I am an extremely avid reader. Taught myself to read at age three, my parents read to me pretty much every day growing up, and in turn I read to my four younger siblings. I almost always have three or four books on the go (fiction and non) and always have university texts laying around.

Dh reads, but very slowly. A book or magazine lasts him weeks, if not months. He much prefers television or the internet; he was not read to as a child - but more so, grew up in a home without books. Neither of my ILs read.

Dd1 has been read to since she was about a year and could bring me board books to look through together. Since then her interest in reading has slowly declined. She (at age six) currently has little interest in reading or being read to. She has a very short attention span, and although we literally have two huge bookcases of both children's and YA's books & novels - she's not interested.

I'm not currently forcing it. She sees me reading in bed every night. She usually watches TV or plays beside me. I've tried forbidding TV, but that backfired and made her even more resistant to reading. She's smart enough to realize that when I say 'No TV, let's read instead' to recognize it as me exerting my control over her.

I believe it'll come back around as she begins to read more independantly.

Dd2 (who just turned a year) loves books. We have stacks and stacks of board books, and she'll spend hours looking at them or dragging them to me and crying 'Boo! Boo!' until I sit on the floor with her. I'm not sure how her interest will hold, or how long she'll enjoy being actively read to.

I'm pretty sure I convinced my mum to read out loud to me right up until I was around twelve. At that age, I was reading pretty much whatever my parents were, but there was something about the act of being read to that was special.

Anyway, I guess I'm saying that even starting reading with a baby - they will go through periods of interest and disinterest, just like any other activity. And like a pp mentioned, I too believe there's way too much importance placed on the 'OMGZ the first five critical years of development'... do whatever makes you and your kids happy and healthy.

We all need to let go of the stats.
post #111 of 166
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What other 6 wk old do you know who won't ever sleep except in the car or at home because she has to be up and seeing everything?

Still, she learned early on that if we said she couldn't have something, then she couldn't have it. It was either read the book before bed, or turn off the light and nurse to sleep. She understood her choices early on - she was very verbal very young and understood things long before she started signing at 4 months or so.
All this reinforces what I said: you have a very easy going kid, you just don't know it. I suspect it's because until you have one that ISN'T laid back, you won't know really get it.
post #112 of 166
I suppose I'll chime in here. DS is almost four and wasn't interested in being read to until this year. I tried. I did read to him semi-frequently as a baby, but as he became more independent he had no time or inclination for reading as he was so busy absorbing the world around him, Honestly, I felt like a bad parent for a while because it had been programmed into me from a very young age that it is so important to read to your child on a daily basis. I learned to let that go pretty quickly as I realized that he has his own ideas about things All of a sudden this year he became super-interested in reading. We read every night and have progressed to "chapter books" with few pictures and I know that the love of reading has been cultivated within him. IMO, this study would have been more effective if they had taken into account how many of the children actually wished that they were being read to. There's a big difference. For some reason we equate reading to our kids with some kind of intangible bonding experience (if that makes any sense) and if we fail to do so as directed, well.... we're just not doing our jobs. I don't buy into that at all.
post #113 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I really like what 4evermom just said --

"My favorite way to help a child develop attention span is to not distract him by showing him things when he is already doing something."

I used to think I knew more than my kids did, about what were the most valuable ways for them to spend their time. I'm glad that I started learning to see things through their eyes, instead of imposing my vision on them.
This really stood out for me. I would love for this to guide me through parenting my child. It makes so much sense.
post #114 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by KBecks View Post
A recent study commissioned by Reach Out and Read revealed that the majority of young children — 52 percent — are not being read to on a daily basis. That's 13 million children under 6 years old who are going to bed every night without a bedtime story — without the undivided, loving attention that comes with sharing a favorite book with their parents
Dr. Barry Zuckerman, Reach Out and Read

.

I think reading is important, and reading to our kids is important--esp as they seek being read to (in addition to having books for them to explore on their own, and modeling reading ourselves). What I do not think is important is

1. reading every day
2. reading at bedtime
3. reading to babies

The quoted paragraph, in the op, says nothing meaningful to me. It certainly does not convince me that those 13 million dc aren't being read to an adequate amt (maybe they aren't, but that quote doesn't convince me), or that they don't have undivided, loving attn from their parents at bedtime (or otherwise).

If people want to read every day, at bedtime, to their babies (lol), go for it. But I do not believe that is necessarily superior to singing to a baby, or simply talking to a baby.

I think there is a lot of unnecessary worry, guilt, and superiority in the "reading dogma".
post #115 of 166
I read to my 13 month old EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. He loves loves loves books! I've been reading to him since he was very little though. I think it is important. I want him to develop a love for books and a love for learning.

The Read Aloud Handbook was suggested to me before as well, but I haven't had a chance to get to it. (I'm a full time nursing student as well, and most of my reading time is full with medical text!)
post #116 of 166
This was in the paper and made me think of this thread.

post #117 of 166
why lol to reading to babies? sometimes, when I read to my babies I read books that don't have a lot of words and underline the words as I read them. babies can learn to read before they can talk. sometimes I read stories just for the bonding experience because they like it. My daughter is 2 and is constantly asking for "stories" she just started reading 2 weeks ago, only some words (27 in total, but more with each day)
post #118 of 166
My (lol) was in regard to doing all 3 things I think are not so very important, not just reading to babies.

I read to my babies. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, and I enjoyed it. One of my babies LOVED it, and one baby really didn't get into it. But, imo, even my baby who LOVED books wouldn't have been deprived if she never *saw* a book until she was 12 months old (or older). I just find the idea that reading to babies is important absurd and annoying (more yardsticks for new parents to come up short).
post #119 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenmama2AJ View Post
I just wanted to respond to the op - who restated her question on the last page - asking how we can be activists to encourage reading to children.
I think that we need to start by encouraging literacy and reading, in general. I know a lot of adults who almost never read anything...no books, no magazines, no newspapers...nothing. Our culture, imo, doesn't value reading very much.

Quote:
I think the main thing about reading to children is that they are participating in oral story telling.

There are many developmental theorists who believe it is actually talking to our children that increases their literacy - and reading to children is just one way of meaningfully talking to our children.
That would explain why ds1 loves to read and dd shows signs of following in his footsteps. I talk to my kids all the time. We're a very verbal family. DD isn't reading yet, but she had a bigger vocabulary at 2 than most 5 year olds I've met. She just absorbed it, in typical small child "sponge" fashion.
post #120 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
My (lol) was in regard to doing all 3 things I think are not so very important, not just reading to babies.

I read to my babies. I don't think there is anything wrong with it, and I enjoyed it. One of my babies LOVED it, and one baby really didn't get into it. But, imo, even my baby who LOVED books wouldn't have been deprived if she never *saw* a book until she was 12 months old (or older). I just find the idea that reading to babies is important absurd and annoying (more yardsticks for new parents to come up short).
Basing what I know about brain development in infants, I DO agree that if a child isn't interested it's no big deal, but I DON'T agree that it's not beneficial (not saying you don't think it is either). Your child wouldn't have been deprived, but because she enjoyed it and you made use of that enjoyment, she was fulfilled. Like, you don't lose points for not reading, but you certainly get some if your child is interested and you foster that interest (and that goes for anything they are interested in learning about).

Personally, if my child is interested in learning about reading or being read to then it IS very important. I guess thats why I don't understand the "lol" that those things are "not important" In the sense that you can be a good parent if you don't read to your child I agree, but overall importance, well my children think its important and therefor to me it is important. For my daughter, I feel I would be depriving her not to read to her since its her favorite thing ever and we have "reading" time probably 15 minutes of each hour she is awake, and 1/2 an hour before bed. its a big part of the day, and its how she "gets her cup filled".

So, I think it depends on the child. Maybe for most children it wouldn't deprive them, I think for *my* daughter it would. I don't think parents who don't read to their children are bad. I do think some parents don't realize how much children learn and love to learn long before they can talk, and how beneficial it is to their happiness (when learning happens in a relaxed, unforced way) whether that is reading, or something else. For some children, it may be art, nature, or music, or exploring the way the world works.

for some babies, it is important. maybe not for all. but to generalize and say the idea of reading to babies being important is absurd, that I cannot agree. I see a middle ground. Its not important for some, it is important for others. And if there is some kind of metaphorical yard stick, I think it varies for different children what they need from their parents. Being in tune with your child is important - whether that means reading to them is important, or whether reading to them would make no difference.

For my daughter it would be a great disservice to her for me not to foster her love of reading. She loves language - english, spanish, sign language, and written. fostering these things helps her developing brain, and gives her self confidence. I think that IS important. I think I would be depriving HER if I didn't encourage these things and do them with her.

I think reading is important in general too, and there are a lot of children who are reading way below their age level because learning to read is harder after the age of 4, and most don't start learning to read until at least the age of 5. It's something MOST people need to know how to do. The reason why this comes up in debate so often is because we have too many children who are 7, 8, 9, 10 etc who CAN'T read, and don't want to learn. They sometimes get low self esteem from not being able to read.

that being said, I dont think reading to a child is the best way to teach them to read. It holds other benefits, but there are too many words in winnie the pooh stories to teach about the written word. Maybe some children do learn this way, but I think starting off with children's stories with just a few words on each page is the best method. We also focus more on the sounds that letters make then the alphabet itself - though I think both are important to learn as well.
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