The very first time I looked at my child, I felt an unimaginable love for her. She was beautiful. I immediately began to make big plans for her. I wanted her to be a smarter child. After all, who doesn’t want to see their child become super successful? You know what I mean, invent the cure for cancer, be the first person to land on Mars, or be the Bill Gates or Steve Jobs of their generation. I wanted to make sure that she had all the tools necessary to make her mark on the world. Where should I start, I wondered.
One thing that I did, I believe has been the main foundation of her success in school, and life in general is I would read to her. From my experience it’s never to early to start. A baby, can look at pictures and listen to the sound of your voice. You should read with emotion and let your tone show how the characters interact with each other. This will start to teach them valuable communication skills that they will use all their life. Reading together was a bonding activity for me and her as I would point out things in the pictures and she would gurgle her approval. I would tell her the names of things in the pictures, sometimes repeating them several times to get her to associate the person, place or thing in the picture with its name. I would also point to the word so she would get the idea that the word also represented what was in the picture. The bonding worked both ways because I really enjoyed our time together as we read books like Horton Hears a Who, Charlotte’s Web, The Cat in The Hat and Cinderella. Reading to her brought us closer together and it’s effect is still felt today when she’s almost fourteen.
I’m certain that this speeded the growth of her vocabulary. Once while we were visiting my mother in Kansas City and she was about three years old, I left Day with my mom and went to my cousin’s house. I didn’t make it back by Days deadline so she got my mother to call me after she told her, “my daddy is the most important thing in my life and I don’t like it when he’s gone.” I left my cousin’s house shortly after her call. I’m certain reading to her helped her learn to express herself clearly. Reading shows kids how words should go together, form ideas, express feelings and get their point across in a logical way.
Reading to your kids early also gives them a head start on the purpose of books and shows them that books are fun. Fostering a love of reading is one of the most important things you could ever do for your child. Reading is where it all starts. You can’t learn science or math unless you read well. Someone once told me a grim urban legend, that government officials could calculate how many prison beds they would need in the future, based on third grade reading scores. You can read more about that here, Prison and Third Grade Reading Scores, now that’s a long way from going to Mars
I highly recommend subscribing to National Geographic Kids magazine, I used to read it to Day . She would get a kick out of the brilliant, original photographs. The articles were educational and very entertaining. She learned a great deal effortlessly and it was fun. After she became older I also subscribed to National Geographic magazine, the regular edition. I did this because I remember how much I enjoyed reading National Geographic magazine when I was young. Day also likes to read National Geographic magazine. The magazine chiefly has articles about geography, science, history and world culture. It is also well-known for containing stunning, dramatic photographs. I know that she doesn’t read all the stories in the magazine but she reads many of them and in the process learns many things about our planet and ourselves.
With your help, your child can start a life long fascination with books. “Reading is Fundamental,” The nation’s largest nonprofit children’s literacy organization, has that name for a reason. There it is, I have told you one of my primary tools that I have used to help our daughter. I’m very happy with the results. Day is in the ninth grade, has a college level vocabulary and reads at first year college level, according to the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. She’s just beginning her life, a good start is very important. That’s not all, My wife Nicky also read to the boys when they were very young and both are doing great. The oldest is in his second year of college, majoring in chemical engineering. Key, our middle child also does well in school and life. So get out a book, go to the library or go to the book store and get some children’s books. What ever you do just be sure to read to your little ones, Your child and you will have a ball and the benefits are enormous, you will have a “smarterchild”.