The Importance of Reading Out Loud to Young Children

When children listen to a parent or teacher read a story, they are often looking at the reader or at the book’s illustrations, but not at the printed word. If kids are looking at everything but the letters on the page, does being read to actually help them learn to read?

In a joint study by the University of Virginia and Ohio State University, researchers found that a small adjustment in the way preschool teachers read aloud boosted children’s literacy skills.

Preschool teachers in 85 Ohio schools were given a year’s worth of children’s books. Some of the teachers also received a set of cards with brief questions to ask the children four to eight times while reading aloud to them. The questions were designed to draw the preschoolers’ attention to the written text and took only an extra 90 seconds per reading session.

After two years, the children who were asked the questions showed significantly higher spelling skills than the kids who simply listened to the stories being read, according to the study.

Scholars who were not involved in the study note that in order for a child to fully benefit from this technique, it would need to occur on a consistent basis over a sustained period of time. According to one critic, the program would be difficult to implement in schools because teachers have varying levels of competency.

This creates an opportunity for parents to help their children get the most out of story time at home, the study noted. All it takes is a few simple questions to motivate the child to look at letters and words. Parents can ask their children to point to a letter of the alphabet or basic words such as ‘cat’ or ‘house.’ Also helpful is asking them to find the first or last word on the page.

First 5 LA strongly believes in the importance and benefits of high-quality early childhood education. One of its grantees, LAUP, offers quality preschool education to children in Los Angeles County at little or no cost. For more information, please call 1-866-675-5400 or click here.

Celebrating Juneteenth: Freedom Day

Celebrating Juneteenth: Freedom Day

Celebrating Juneteenth: Freedom Day While Americans traditionally celebrate July 4th as the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence which declared the original colonies to be free from British rule, the reality of the matter is that not everyone...

California’s Tax Credit Helps Working Families

California’s Tax Credit Helps Working Families

California’s Tax Credit Helps Working Families If you are working and pay taxes, you may be eligible for a California Earned Income Tax Credit that can give you a refund — or reduce your family’s taxes — by thousands of dollars. And if you have young children, you can...

COVID-19 Challenges: Thank a Childcare Worker!

COVID-19 Challenges: Thank a Childcare Worker!

COVID-19 Challenges: Thank a Childcare Worker! As most parents are keenly aware, quality child care is critical to a child’s development, parents’ ability to work and families’ well-being. While Los Angeles County child care providers have long faced considerable...

Inspiring Children’s Books for Women’s History Month

Inspiring Children’s Books for Women’s History Month

Inspiring Children's Books for Women's History Month Inspire your young reader with these empowering books in honor of Women's History Month! Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed The World By Susan Hood (Author) Sophie Blackall (Illustrator), Emily Winfield...

Translate