How To Read To Children
My latest column for MindShift is about the most helpful way to read to your child:
“Parents, do you know how to read? More precisely, do you know how to read to kids?
Almost every adult who cares for young children knows that sharing books with them is an important way to promote their reading skills. But research shows that subtle features of the way adults act during story-time make a big difference in children’s literacy—and that most grownups aren’t using these simple but effective techniques.
The first step to becoming a better reader to children is to understand where our young audience is looking when we read. While we might assume that they’re viewing the words, just as we are, eye-tracking experiments—which use special equipment to identify where subjects’ gaze is directed—reveal that preschool children are focusing on print only five to six percent of the time. Instead, they’re mostly looking at the pictures, or looking up at our faces. Few of their questions or comments are about the words themselves, either; their interjections have to do with the illustrations, or with the content of the story. Yet studies have shown that it’s “print knowledge,” and not just general experience with books, that advances children’s reading ability.”
Read more here, and tell me what you think!