Babies and Toddlers are smarter than you know! Children absorb so much information just from listening and being attentive to their environment. An “absorption” period in a child’s development starts at birth and continues through 6 and 7 years old.
Studies on early brain development, indicate that:
- The first three years of life are the most crucial in the building of a child’s brain.
- Over the first 12-months, the brain more than doubles in size!
- By the age of three, a child’s brain is about twice as active as an adult’s brain, setting the ground work for a lifetime of learning and success.
Just because your kids aren’t trying to speak or pronounce words yet, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t already learning and absorbing what they’re being taught. In fact, 70 percent of our personality and processing faculties are formed during these first years of brain development.
It’s up to you as the parent to decide what you’re going to expose to them to. The more you read to your baby, the more familiar and enjoyable the activity will become. Early reading is about having fun and bonding! Reading to your child provides a secure and loving environment, that’s needed for your little one’s healthy and emotional development.
If you’re a busy parent who doesn’t have a lot of time to read all the time to your child, don’t beat yourself up! Try to make time for it once a day, or have someone like your babysitter or whoever’s around most be the one to do it.
The Benefits of Early Reading
Now, you may be asking, “How important is it really to expose my child to learning how to read at this early age? Kids aren’t expected to even begin learning to read until reaching kindergarten and first grade!”
Read over these benefits and decide for yourself…
- Early reading exposes children to a wealth of information & experiences that they may not otherwise enjoy!
- Reading stimulates imagination, nourishes emotional growth and builds verbal and critical thinking skills!
- Early Reading enhances performance in ALL subjects!
Within their first year, most children begin linking words to meanings.
They understand the names used to label familiar objects like body parts, animals by building word associations. This creates a continuous cycle of learning, by being able to communicate their needs and desires while learning to read and practice their language.
Many parents find that their three or four-year-old can even get frustrated with mommy or daddy — or whoever’s doing the reading — because they want to be able to read the words on their own!
Every child learns differently!
Go with the flow with younger children and let your child decide what they enjoy learning.
If you’re reading to your toddler and little Julie’s looking elsewhere or crawling away and clearly not interested, she just isn’t ready.
It’s nothing to feel bad about! Some children love it and others don’t. Some kids show interest at an early age and others don’t.
If your baby is looking and playing with the pages of a book, listening to your voice and showing interest in this way, your child will most likely react well to flash cards and other educational tools. This is the type of child who will most likely learn at a young age, if exposed and taught.
If exposed to/taught, most children are fluent in languages spoken to them by the age of three!
Elizabeth Alexander is the Founder of Reading in Preschool, a NYC private tutoring company for young readers.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributors. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Guest writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.
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