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Most young children are not read to on a daily basis. - Page 4

post #61 of 166
Thread Starter 
This is a very interesting conversation, it has been fascinating to read all the replies and perspectives. I love hearing about all the great reading and non-reading experiences that families are having together.

Here is the Web site for Reach out and Read and their FAQ, the organization whose founder made the quote I shared in the original post. I'm just digging into this myself. I'm curious to know more about the organization as well as know more about whether the research really is about bedtime reading, or overall reading.... as so many have pointed out, it's not about the time of day, and it's not that reading aloud is the only way to nurture children.

I've only read a little about Reach out and Read so far, but the basic idea is enlisting the help of pediatricians to distribute children's books and spread the message about nurturing reading together.

And here is the entire article that contained the quote. I'm just about to read it myself, I was anxious to talk about reading in general.

I look forward to more conversation!
post #62 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
Hmmm. If my children learn more from reading than they do from real experience I would find that extremely depressing. Our kids learned and retained a lot more about volcanoes by visiting Mt Saint Helens than from any book we have. They learn a lot more about animals at the zoo from the books that we have too. They learn way more about stability and physics playing with blocks. Not that they don't learn from books, but I actually see hands on activities, experience and human interaction having much more impact.
As someone who read a book a day until I hit college, I can say with surety that more than half of my general knowledge comes from books. I certainly don't find that depressing. I find it thrilling. We had museum memberships, and field trips, and all the "enrichment" activities, and while I loved them and they certainly taught me things, I amassed nowhere near the amount of knowledge from them as from books. You just can't. With a book I can be in any country, in any time, in any class level. I can learn anything about anything. There aren't enough real life experiences in the world to cover what I have learned from books.

I also find this discussion interesting and thought provoking. While she was certainly regularly read to, my sister was not read to near as much as me. She didn't have the attention span or interest. She always demanded a bedtime story from her dad or myself, and never wanted a bedtime book. She learned to read 2 years later than I did, and never developed a love of books. Her vocabulary is not particularly good and her grammar is atrocious. She complains every time she has to read anything. I wonder if she was expressing her dislike of reading from toddlerhood. In that case I think no amount of reading to her would have changed things.
post #63 of 166
Quote:
the stats on being read to and outcomes probably are very connected to the social/economic factors at play.
Actually, that's not so. I wish I could just type in the whole text of the daggone Trelease book here, because the guy is just so great on this subject. It's really a book worth having, as is Esme's. Anyway, he points out in a number of places that even considering social and economic factors, being read to (and then in turn learning to love reading) is a huge boost to children's ability to learn. It's not just that the kids who are being read to also have all these other advantages. Even if you have few other advantages, if you have parents who read to you, you're apt to do better.

Quote:
books are taking away imagination and creative thinking from kids.
Okay, maybe this is just the English major in me talking, but whaaaa-at? I've heard that TV is taking away imagination and creative thinking, but BOOKS? What in the world? I can think of nothing else I did in my childhood that fostered my imagination and creative thinking more than reading. The books I read sparked all kinds of wild imaginings, desires to learn more about worlds and people I had never encountered, and the eagerness to make up my own stories. (I penned "Life is Hard," dictated to my mother, at four. "Diary of a Dog" remains one of my favorites.)

My kids are too young to make up stories that have subplots--DD is just turning 3 and DS is not yet one. But DD definitely makes up stories all the time. (Lately lots of them involve dragons.) And I love hearing them and asking questions about them. A lot of her stories are sparked by the books we read--she gets an idea about a character or creature and then goes wild with it.

Quote:
this whole emphasis on knowing colours, shapes and the amount of shame associated with the children who do not know them is just plain ridiculous.
I think perhaps you may be confusing people talking about the importance of reading to a child with the dictatorial idea that kids must learn rote things like letters, numbers, etc. very early on and must be reading to themselves far sooner than is developmentally appropriate. Trelease's book, for example, is very critical of "Baby Einstein" and the push to drill this stuff into kids at an early age, particularly in the section "Can You Recommend Something That Will Teach My Child to Read Before Kindergarten?" The point is to read to and with children for fun, pleasure and joy, and they will learn without even realizing it because they're enjoying it so much.

I know that's what happened to me. I remember my mom's reading one chapter of the original Peter Pan to me every night before bed when I was about four. One chapter only, no matter how much I begged for more. Smart woman--I was insanely hooked and couldn't wait for the next night to hear what happened next.

Quote:
nothing needs to be taught to children. in time they pick it up on their own.
But reading to your child, and eventually reading with them, isn't "teaching" them to read, not in the traditional way of lecturing or making someone study a skill. Reading aloud to kids is not, or shouldn't be, about "teaching" them to read. It will absolutely help them learn to read--there is virtually no doubt about that. But it's not a "lesson." It's learning at its best--learning when you don't realize you're doing it because you're having so much fun.

I don't think my daughter realized that she was learning to read tonight when she asked me to read "eelya deelya" (Amelia Bedelia) again. She just loved hearing about how "Amelia Bedelia sat right down and she drew those drapes." But she was learning, in a lovely combination of "picking it up on her own" and sharing it with me.

In general, you will find that the advocates of read-aloud like Trelease and Esme are much in agreement with David Elkind, author of "The Hurried Child," and other child development experts, who are rather appalled that the whole body of research and knowledge about the importance of the first three years was turned into a giant industry of playing Mozart in utero and teaching Mandarin to your nine-month-old. I really think it's a major misunderstanding to lump the issue of reading aloud to your child in with the whole hyper-enrichment Parenting Olympics thing.
post #64 of 166
My parents NEVER read out loud to me. I don't understand how that has any bearing on how much a child will read when he/she gets older or how smart they are or anything like that. I was an honor student and a total bookworm up until I had kids. (Now I can only do magazines and the internet. )

We read to our kids occasionally but certainly not everyday. In fact I'm surprise that 48% of parents read to their kids daily. I think those numbers might be a little fishy.
post #65 of 166
I have a hard time reading to my DD daily....she's only 4-months-old so she doesn't always have the patience with it that I would like. She lunges at the book and attempts to eat it...I still try though.
post #66 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
Hmmm. If my children learn more from reading than they do from real experience I would find that extremely depressing.
I would argue that almost everyone learns more from the real experience. But how much more powerful is the real experience then followed by books about it? Books can help you understand things you didn't understand the first time around

Also, the studies that are being cited note that being read to is important for learning to READ, they didn't say that being read to was important for learning physics. (Though I would argue that you can't become a physicist without reading!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached Mama View Post
I think the problem is that parents don't start when their baby is like 1 wk old, so then time just evolves and the kids don't develop much attn span for it and the parents just don't ever get around to it. The kid has lived thus long w/o it so why start now?
No, I think the real problem is that parents don't listen to their children's cues and they don't keep trying. I read to ds until he became mobile. He then became a whirling movement machine for about a year, and wouldn't sit still for books. I think we probably went 3-4 months without reading a single book. Short of pinning him down, he wasn't going to do it.

Then he gradually became interested in books. But, they had to be books with REAL pictures. We read "my first truck book" until the cover fell off.

He LOVES to be read to now. But, he wasn't ready for stories. I think we read every book ever written about garbage trucks and fire trucks. He wasn't ready for chapter books until he was 6. He now prefers fiction, but it took a LONG time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
I'm curious what people who believe reading is an integral element to strong intellectual/creative development think of oral storytelling cultures, recitation traditions, etc?
Reading is important for literacy. Reading is also very important for a decent vocabulary. I can tell you stories that would astound you about misunderstandings my college students have had because they simply didn't have the vocabulary they needed. Much of my excellent vocabulary comes from reading "worthless" novels.

So, if you want a child who is literate and able to function in a society that's highly dependent on the written word for a livable wage, then it's important to read.

Oral storytelling and recitation is important for oral skills and can aid vocabulary development, but it's a different kind of vocabulary and skill. It's important to be exposed to those skills too.

The two are not mutually exclusive either. I come from a family who places a relatively high value on oral storytelling -- family gatherings are always filled with stories. But my family also placed a high value on the written word as well. My mom is a writer. She's also one of the major story tellers in the family. Coincidence? I think not.

I don't think that reading and creativity are causally linked, any more than playing outside and creativity are causally linked. You can read and be uninspired, or be inspired. You can play outside creatively or you can stand around beating trees with sticks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrariety View Post
I don't think it's the end of the world for children not to be read to *every* night. My parents didn't read to me, but they did read themselves. I saw them reading in bed every night growing up. It's very sad to me that children grow up in households where no one is reading.
From what I know, the most important thing is being in a household where literacy is valued. If the adults never read, why would the kids, even if you have lots of kids books? That makes reading something for 'kids'.

So, in a sense, it really is all about culture, as well as socioeconomics. Kids who see parents reading and using the written word will want to read and use the written word.
post #67 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
reading in my opinion is over-rated. it is one of the things a parent does. i feel it has nothing to do with literacy.
I'm astounded by this statement. I'm not sure how you're defining literacy. Certainly reading is just one of the things a parent does. My kids have good literacy (or pre-literacy in the case of dd) skills because we read to them, we talk to them, we tell stories to them, we take them places, and we eat dinner together. But if our house wasn't filled with books and literacy materials, talking to them, eating with them and taking them places wouldn't teach them to read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
this whole emphasis on knowing colours, shapes and the amount of shame associated with the children who do not know them is just plain ridiculous.
There's a pretty big leap here in logic from reading to your child to shaming a child who doesn't know their colors or shapes.

You can read to your child daily and still not push them. Our dd has been on the cusp of reading for about 6 months now. If I sat down with a reading 'program', I would guarantee you that she'd be reading in a month. She'd probably enjoy the whole experience. I've chosen not to do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
i wish people would instead pay attention to the oral tradition that is so dying. the art of story telling is dying. it is those kinds of stories i found my dd enjoyed the most. to me story telling which is many times history about her ancestors are equally important if not more.
I'm not sure how story-telling and reading need be exclusive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
books are taking away imagination and creative thinking from kids. when was the last time your child made up a story. and stayed with it and developed sub plots to it.
Umm... daily. I strongly disagree with this. I think the lack of ability to make a creative story with subplots has much more to do with media exposure and lack of experience with stories with any depth. How can you do a subplot if you've never heard one?
post #68 of 166
I am finding this to be such a strange discussion. There seems to be so much arguing about what is better, reading, real life experience, story telling, singing, etc. Why are people considering these things to be mutually exclusive? Or trying to justify that it is or isn't okay to ignore one or the other?

Certainly different families might have a different emphasis because they might be particularly skilled in singing or story telling but frankly all of the things people are talking about are important in developing literacy in kids.

I am especially confused by people who think real life experience is somehow better than book experiences. One is not "better" than the other, they are just different from each other. My DS has had many more real life experiences than the average 5 yo due to my and DH's varied interests. We always include him in these experiences and he loves it. But he also loves the world of books because they feed his hunger for knowledge about things we can't experience. We travel a lot with him but I can't afford to globe trot the world to see every castle or battlefield (his latest fascinations). Books give him the window into those places that he craves. It would also be a bit tough for him to visit Narnia in real life, but reading the books together he is absolutely enthralled by the tales and then incorporates elements into his imaginary play.

DS is in K now and his "homework" every night is to read a book with someone. He can either be read to or have someone read to him and then we record it on a sheet for his teacher. The kids bring home a book from school. There are about 5 kids in the class who show up everyday with a blank sheet. The reasons noone reads with them could be many (whether due to lack of time, interest, skill, or organization to remember), but the end result is that these kids are also the kids struggling with literacy at school. They came into school not knowing how to rhyme, how to tell a story, how to recognize letters, how to sit and listen to a story at school. The school is giving extra support to these kids but in reality they will probably continue to fall behind kids who have literacy support at home. What else may or may not be going on in their family, I have no way of knowing, but they are not having reading time at home.
post #69 of 166
Ugh. I HATED it when my kids had "reading logs" for school! The teachers always insisted on reading a certain number of books (or later, a certain number of minutes) every single night. None of them were ever satisifed with "an hour a week" it had to be "20 minutes a night" (or whatever daily reading limit they wanted that year.)

My daughters NEVER enjoyed reading one chapter and putting the book down. We've always been "devour the book" kinds of readers. Either we sit and read the whole book, or we don't read that day. We'd rather read 2-3 hours on a weekend afternoon than add a short burst of unsatisfying reading to an already busy weeknight.

We had after school activities some days, plus written homework, family meals, chores, and they needed time for free play. To squeeze in an extra 20 minutes every single night was just rediculous! Trying to follow the school's reading requirements turned reading into a chore, when before it had been fully enjoyable. I finally started filling out the reading log the way the teacher wanted it filled out- I'd put down the 20 or 30 minutes of reading each night, even if the reading had all been done in one burst on Saturday.
post #70 of 166
my mother never read to us.

as a single mom, she picked us up from the sitter...cooked dinner...plopped us in front of the tv or with toys while SHE read and relaxed.

both my brother and i are total bookworms.

and i've read somewhere that it's not reading to your kids. or having books in the house...but your kids SEEING YOU read.

now...if you read to your kids often, they are seeing you read so I guess it counts in some sense...but kids have to learn that reading is part of life and day-to-day entertainment/routine/enjoyment. if they don't get that, they're not going to be readers.

from my experience as a mother i know that my son (9 months) likes his books. but he likes them a lot more when mommy and daddy are unwinding on the couch, each with their own book. then he looks around for his books (or tries to turn the pages of mine) and wants to sit with us on the couch.
post #71 of 166
Lets see. When I was little I wasn't that fond of being read to. I had more important things to do, like figure out how to turn those books into a catapult of some sort and send things flying across the room. Now, I love reading.

DD chose 75% of the time a song instead of a book. Occasionally she'd ask me to sing her a book (let me tell you I was definatly put on the spot when she asked me to "sing green eggs and ham", reading it and singing something else wouldn't cut it). And some night she didn't want anything but hugs, kisses and a "good night". She loves to read too.

DH was read to every night, loved it and he loves reading now.

My point? Reading everynight is not nessicary. DD loves books because DH and I love books. DH and I love books because our parents did.

I really don't think reading to one's child is as important as so many people want to make them. Honestly I can't see how "reading everynight" = "Bookloving, intelligent, creative child." Of my friends who like to read (and there are a lot of them) the ones read to every day were the ones who wanted to be read to everyday.

LynnS6:
Quote:
Reading is important for literacy. Reading is also very important for a decent vocabulary. I can tell you stories that would astound you about misunderstandings my college students have had because they simply didn't have the vocabulary they needed. Much of my excellent vocabulary comes from reading "worthless" novels.
Much of my excellent vocabulary comes from everyday life. There is more then one way to pick up new words.

My vocabulary comes from the following places:
My parents never dumbing down their language when talking to me, and me asking "what does *word* mean?"
Music.
TV (yes I've learned new words from TV).
In a lecture classroom setting.
General conversations with other people.

I rarely came across new words in a book. I simply came across uncommon words that I'd only heard once or twice before.

Anecdote: Babymomma took Japanese in college for one semester. One day the instruct stood at the front and started giving directions in Japanese. These were actions like stand up, sit down, jump, turn left, turn right, etc. Without even cracking the text, she taught the entire class what these words meant the same way a three year old learns new words. But using them to direct the class, and indicating what she wanted with her hands.

The next week she stood in front of the class and started the same thing, without the hand indications. Everyone remembered each and every one of those words.
post #72 of 166
I read to my children multiple times a day, especially at bedtime that is a special one on one time between us.

My 2 year old also reads to me. (the words she knows)
post #73 of 166
my husband and i read to our son every night. well we try to! lol mostly, he likes to look at the pictures. but we spend about 20 minutes in his room with a book, every night.
post #74 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by straighthaircurly View Post
I am finding this to be such a strange discussion. There seems to be so much arguing about what is better, reading, real life experience, story telling, singing, etc. Why are people considering these things to be mutually exclusive? Or trying to justify that it is or isn't okay to ignore one or the other?

Certainly different families might have a different emphasis because they might be particularly skilled in singing or story telling but frankly all of the things people are talking about are important in developing literacy in kids.
:
Reading your children bedtime stories, having books your children can easily access (to read or just look at the pictures), you telling an imaginary story, you reading a book while your child is building with blocks, your child reading a story online, taking a walk in town and noticing the street signs and bus numbers, ect. ... all of these are different types of reading experiences. All of them have value.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chirp View Post
and i've read somewhere that it's not reading to your kids. or having books in the house...but your kids SEEING YOU read.
They are seeing me read, right now, this post. My 4 yo DS learned his letters, numbers, words... right here, on the computer. Not from all the hard bound books we read with him.
post #75 of 166
I think that modeling reading has a larger impact on if your kids will be bookworms.
That said. I read to my kids every night at bedtime. My 10 year old (soon to be 11) loves story time and I will read to them as long as they allow me to. I find it is a time when my children and I can unwind from the day, relax, and listen and talk to one another

None of my neices and nephews on dh's side read for enjoyment and none of their parents do either. Dh never sits down with a book. Although-that has more to do with the hours he works.
post #76 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

books are taking away imagination and creative thinking from kids. when was the last time your child made up a story. and stayed with it and developed sub plots to it.
What????? My 3 yr old has ongoing stories that she develops that have nothing to do with any story we have read and have subplots going in them as well - and has been doing this since 2 yrs old. We read to her a ton. While I'm sure some kids can do this w/o being read to on a consistent basis, I contribute her love of literature to be part of the reason for her creativity.

Either way, there is just no way that books take away imagination and creativity. You'd be hard pressed to find any study that said that and could easily find many studies proving otherwise. Because of the static or even non existent illustrations, hearing books read is an exercise in imagination and creativity.

I think the type of books read does affect how much creativity tho - reading books associated with oft viewed cartoons is going to require a lot less imagination than reading books where the child has to imagine the action and all themselves.
post #77 of 166
I guess I'm one of those crummy parents whose child some of you are feeling sorry for!

My older dd loved books and stories early on. I can't claim to have started reading to her at 4 days after birth -- or whatever age a previous poster said was optimal. But by a year of age she was getting read to, usually several times a day, because she was the one bringing me books or wanting a story.

Enter dd2. She turns 4 in March, and has only recently started enjoying having books and stories read to her. From an early age, she's enjoyed looking through books and babbling to herself while studying the pictures. But if I tried to read a book, she'd grab it out of my hand and take over "reading" it to herself. If I started telling her a story or singing to her, she'd cry for me to stop.

She's been somewhat tolerant of me reading and telling stories to her sister, though. And lately I've noticed that her interest has been sparked.

I simply see no reason to force books -- or any other experience -- on a child. Part of being a responsive parent is connecting with our children where they're at, not pushing our agendas on them.
post #78 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liquesce View Post
I'm a devoted bookworm. I read all the time. My kids are read to all the time. BUT ... in a way I really don't see the big deal, IF those kids are receiving parental attention and stimulation by other means. Do their parents get down on the floor and play with them? Encourage their imaginations? Involve them in their everyday activities? Storytell without books? Read to them sometimes, if not every day? Give their children "undivided, loving attention" that has nothing to do with reading?

Like I said, I love books ... but I have a hard time with the notion that parents who don't are by definition deglecting a necessity. There are a lot of cultures in this world in which leisure reading is just not an element, in which children are still given rich, full upbringings.
I agree with the above. My parents are not what you would call readers. I use to feel bad for my father when he read something aloud (the words just don't flow smoothly). I maybe got a few stories for bedtime, especially by my grandmother house but nothing like what they say children need. But we had books in the house and I had a book and cassette player for the book which I loved.

I became very interested in reading books, most of my school years I would be reading in my bedroom some book, anytype of book - animals books, mystery books to those sweet valley high books. My sister was the same, but my brother wasn't like us he more played outside.

Our parents was attentive I would believe and my mom was a SAHM also with all of us, so like someone said there was some other factors there. But I would say if a parent can I see no harm in it. I try to do it as I can see my son is more interested in reading the more I read to him.

The thing is also even though I read alot my grammer and vocabolary are VERY BAD and it still is. My parents didn't care about proper grammer and the school I went wasn't the best in English, I have and still struggle with English and grammer.
post #79 of 166
I don't think my parents ever read to me, and I love reading! My kids love to look at books on their own, and sometimes they ask me to read to them, which I'm very happy to do. I think modration in all things.
post #80 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
I simply see no reason to force books -- or any other experience -- on a child. Part of being a responsive parent is connecting with our children where they're at, not pushing our agendas on them.
ITA. My ds hardly wanted to be read to until he was 5ish. Now he wants me to read to him every night before bed. He didn't need to have his attention span encouraged by some regiment of nightly reading. He just needed to get older and get interested. He always had plenty of access to books and book reading parents.
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