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Why Teach Your Baby to Read? Here are Four Reasons

11:43 AM

The following is a well-written and intriguing guest post by J. Richard Gentry PhD. We hope you enjoy is as much as we did!


Language proficiency in the brain develops rapidly from birth to age 6.
Your baby is absorbing language at a stunning pace well before she can speak or read. Her brain will triple in size during her first year of life, and will be almost as big as yours by the time she enters kindergarten. This is the critical period when many of the neural pathways establishing language proficiency form. For babies and toddlers, learning to read isn’t work--it’s just a really fun activity to do with Mom or Dad.
 
Babies who do literacy activities with their parents have an enormous advantage.
As a parent, if you spend just 5 minutes a day with your baby doing early literacy activities--electronic reading programs, reading aloud, and other positive parent/child reading and spelling games and activities--your baby can have a 32-million-word advantage by kindergarten over children who did not get this exposure.
 
A baby’s brain is especially suited to early reading.
Beginning as early as 8 months of age, a baby’s brain has a special capacity for pattern recognition and connecting symbols with meaning. Babies also have good recognition memory and novelty preference, so they enjoy looking at pictures and word cards with their parents. Perceiving patterns and connecting symbols with meaning is what reading is all about. When shown contrasting word patterns 5 minutes a day with their parents, using books or multimedia technology like “Your Baby Can Read,” 2- and 3-year-olds can intuit phonics.

Because of their right-brain learning, babies have a special capacity for reading.
Babies and toddlers don’t learn to read like 6-year-olds, who develop left-brain reading systems through formal instruction. Instead, they begin as right-brain readers who pick up reading as easily as they pick up three languages if all three languages are spoken by their caregivers between birth and age 3. (It's not so easy for a 6-year-old child to pick up three languages simultaneously. The baby brain, not the 6-year-old brain, has special language and reading capacities.)

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J. Richard Gentry PhD is a nationally acclaimed expert on childhood literacy, reading, and spelling development, and the author of Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write — from Baby to Age 7 (Da Capo / Perseus). Find out more at www.jrichardgentry.com.



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