Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Read to your children, whatever their ages

One of my readers, Heidi, made the following comment on my article entitled :- “Headmistress agrees with advice given on dyslexia”:

Heidi wrote, “I read to my son every night since he was a baby. He grew up to be a dyslexic. He is awful with punctuation, but I never have to change his grammar or sentence structure. It is always correct. He also likes to write stories (just for years they weren't spelled right). Now, I know the reading must have really helped his correct usage of word structure, and probably his love for writing stories.”

Note that she says that her dyslexic son’s grammar or sentence structure is always correct and the reason for that is that she has been reading to her son since he was a baby!

My wife and I read to our children almost every night since they were babies and all of my children have been top in their English in their school right from the beginning. All of them are avid readers. Believe me when I say that I have to forcefully stop them from reading story books a week or two before their examinations.

It is important that you read to your child from infancy. Reading will develop your child’s attention span and receptive language skills. It also helps your child to listen to correct pronunciation. Do not stop when your child can read. He would still enjoy listening to a story being read to him. It also allows him to hear stories that are beyond his current reading level.

Reading to a child makes it easier for him to develop speech, and as Heidi has pointed out, he would have a good grasp of grammar and sentence structure.

Reading to a child is a great way to prepare a pre-school child for the school environment. It helps a child to master language development, listening skills and it also increases his attention span, all of which will help in his school environment. Simply put, a child who is read to frequently will become a better reader.

My eldest son Fadhil had not started speaking any word up till about 2 years plus. My wife and I were very worried as children, of our friends, who were much younger could already speak. However, when Fadhil started speaking we were pleasantly surprised to hear him use many words that we had not spoken to him over a few weeks or months. Where did these words come from?

All the words we had read and spoken to him had been stored in his brain. When he was ready to speak they just came out with ease. I can’t think of any other explanation!

Children who are read to since babies are better prepared to learn academically than children who are not read to. So read books to your child to lay the foundation in raising a reader.

For Lesson 28 click here:


Anonymous said...

There is a book called Secret Life of the Unborn Childin which research reveals that the fetus in utero is aware of the parents voice and can hear.
The effect of Mozart music is supposedly soothing and these children are calmed by music that they were exposed to before they were born.
It has also been proven that babies are aware of language and taking it all in even before they start talking. When they do at a pace that is right for them there is a noticeable acceleration in their vocabulary when they have been read to.


Luqman Michel said...

Yes, I have heard that some time ago. Right now there is some news circulating about infants.

An experiment was conducted by the University of Florida where the abilities of the babies were tested by the scientists to respond to their surroundings by playing a song and then blowing air softly on their eyelids when they were sleeping.

It was seen that approximately most of the babies started squeezing their eyes tighter after 20 minutes of the experiment.

Perhaps I'll copy paste that article to support my article here.
Thank you.

Lesley said...

Absolutely true, read avidly to my elder son, not dyslexic, he loved it I loved it , he would finish the sentences on books he loved to read over and over, give me rhyming words when we stopped. he would ask for "just 1 more chapter" which I would oblige. Needless to say he was an early reader and now writes succinctly.
Move on to son 2 -dyslexic, he would politely "listen" to 2 pages and then say "can we stop now I want to play" I tried and tried insisting on reading to him he just didn't get it at the same age as my older son. In fact all the books had to be revisted when he was 7 because it jsut didn't click with him.
I had to strip it all back to old letterland books and Starfall.com (free resource) when he 7.5 yrs age.
eventually moved on to Toe by Toe, he now reads quite well.

Luqman Michel said...

Lesley, Sorry I just found this comment. Would be a great idea if you could e-mail me and give me a chance to learn more from you.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Luqman gives many excellent reasons for reading to small children, but it doesn't instill literacy any more than watching other children swim teaches swimming.

For literacy instruction, one requires literacy instruction, and the reasons for being read to then can show themselves.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you for your comment Bob. Yes, I agree that literacy instruction is important. Oral language, that is speaking and listening,is the very foundation that is needed to learn to read. Reading and Listening is the core of literacy instruction.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...


Of course speaking and listening are important, but perhaps the best way to help students master written language would be to teach them to handwrite fluently.

Luqman Michel said...

Dear Dr.Rose, I agree completely that to master written language (meaning the ability to write) kids need to be able to write fluently.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Thank you, Luqman. But in America and many other countries most kids finishing two years of school still can't write all of the alphabet letters. We must see that this changes, then see what happens.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Luqman: You recently asked by opinion as to why Chinese students have dyslexia learning English, but not with pinyin, and I gave wron answer.

I actually think it's because kids must learn the sound that each written letter represents IN THE WORK THEY ARE LEARNING. And in pinyin, the letter sounds always the same, whereas in English they (particularly vowels) are different. The advantage of pinyin is that it obviates the constant need for a teacher's presence, and in English kids are always asking, "What is this word?"

Luqman Michel said...

Yes Bob, All the vowels have more than one phoneme in the English language. The consonants are not speared either. Then you have the silent alphabets to contend with.

The above are the initial problems which causes a kid to shut-down. Then he has to contend with:

1.Multiple pronunciation for the same spelling : wind (as in the winter wind) and wind (as in wind down the window).
2.Spelt similarly and pronounced similarly : cut, but.
However, there is an exception : put.
3.Different spelling but pronounced the same: pear - pair, road - rode, hare - hair.

Refer to my post at: http://www.dyslexiafriend.com/2010/02/dyslexia-malay-mandarin-and-english.html#more

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Luqman: You have certainly read that science is showing the value of handwriting to literacy. Many are on-line, and here is one of them:




Luqman Michel said...

Bob, Thanks for your comment. I read the abstract and this is what it says:"These findings demonstrate that handwriting is important for the early recruitment in letter processing of brain regions known to underlie successful reading. Handwriting therefore may facilitate reading acquisition in young children".
Published by Elsevier GmbH

I have repeatedly told you that I believe hand writing should be taught to kids in schools. As said by Elsevier above handwriting is important for the early recruitment in letter processing of brain regions known to underlie successful reading.

She continues and says that "Handwriting therefore MAY facilitate reading acquisition in young children".

Bob, when did "MAY FACILITATE" become scientific evidence?

You have tried to convince the masses together with people in business teaching gripping pens and how to write that handwriting leads to improvement in reading. This is absolute nonsense.

Handwriting will help kids to firmly fix the alphabets in their brains but it will not improve their reading fluency.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Luqman: I've just had email from an education professor at the University of Eastern New Mexico who may be interested in our idea, so I emailed him the text of this as yet unpublished article:

Teaching Fluent Handwriting Remediates Many Reading-Related Learning Disabilities

Rowe Young-Kaple. MS, Bio behavioral Science/Psychology* Affiliation: Department of Psychology Program/Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Connecticut Storrs (retired), Storrs, Connecticut, USA

Robert V. Rose, MD (Retired)

Rand Nelson, BS, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Corresponding Author:

*Rowe A. Young-Kaple

5853 N. Paseo Niguel

Tucson, AZ, USA 85718

Phone: 1-520-299-1250

Email (roweyk@gmail.com)

Abstract— One of the most vexing educational problems in children is the inability to learn to read. Recently it has been shown that the inability to write skillfully imposes great limits on a child’s ability to learn to read. In this paper, information from multiple sources and studies will be reviewed. All of the sources

Luqman Michel said...

Good luck to you.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Luqman: That's what we are praying for. If the Republicans win the American presidential election in 2016, they will provide school vouchers for kids in failing schools; no one will send their kids to schools that fail to teach writing and reading, and then we will see what happens.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

t's hard to believe that avoiding all reading problems is as simple as just giving kids in K-1 some exta handwriting practice, but if one tries in a classroom, one will see for oneself.

Luqman Michel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...


You have already made your own idea apparent, and I'll try not to bother you further with my unproven theory.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Bob. Let us see if anyone will come out and defend your theory in your Face Book post this morning.
Wish you well. Our FB discussion and my subsequent post in my blog here will definitely get some of my readers thinking.

Luqman Michel said...

Bob,teaching handwriting to kids in school has been going on for years here in Malaysia and yet the illiteracy level has not come down.

I have even sent you a research report saying that hand writing does not improve reading in the English language.

Kate Gladstone has told you clearly that she knows of kids as well as adults who can write fluently and yet are unable to read even their own handwriting.

Why don't you try it in a school of your choice and convince yourself that you and your team have been misleading the masses for far too long.