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A Book on Every Bed Reading to Preschoolers Makes a Big Difference

Kids with bookWe do it naturally. As parents and teachers of pre-readers, we talk about a book, look at pictures, share guesses about what is going to happen in the story and stop from time to time during the read-aloud presentation to ask questions, share feelings and solicit reactions from the listeners. Sometimes we even point out particular words.

These pre-reading activities are both social and academic. They can make a huge difference to how well and how soon kids learn to read.
Scott McConnell, a professor of educational psychology at University of Minnesota cites the famous quote: “As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.” when he talks about pre-reading experiences. His point is: If kids see adults reading and enjoying it, they too will want to read and expect to do so. That’s why it is vitally important to read to kids at the pre-reading stage. They need to see reading as a satisfying search for meaning. They need to know that readers and listeners bring their experiences to the reading process.

preschooler learn

Anita McGinty, an education researcher at University of Virginia Curry School of Education says her biggest message to parents to ensure the academic success of their kids is: “Read to young children.” Her research which has spanned fifteen years explored exactly which reading behaviors were the most successful. Their researchers discovered that 90% of the time, preschoolers’ attention focused on the pictures and the sound of the readers’ voice not on the print. Research by Shayne Piasta at Ohio State University supported McGinty’s findings. Based on this research, educators looked at how they could change what children see and think about when stories are read to them. Could children who are at risk of experience reading problems somehow have that risk minimized by changing the way in which pre-readers are read to? McGinty, Piasta and another researcher, Laura Justice, teamed up to look at how reading changes could improve reading.

Little girl is reading a story for her teddy bears

They used two groups. One group was read to as usual. The other group was given questions which directed kids’ attention to the print on the page. Both groups were read to four times a week. The second group of teachers was asked to point out letters or words or phrases four to eight times. This resulted in only about a minute and a half per book. The findings published in Child Development demonstrated that these short directions to look at letters, words or phrases made a big difference. Children who focused on print for up to ninety seconds per book had better literacy skills.

It’s a simple thing to add specific reference to words, letters, phrases and repeated sentences to your discussion of the book. Four to six short references per book is a maximum.

Numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education. After all, if a student struggles to put together words and sentences, how can he be expected to grasp the math, science, and social concepts he’ll be presented with when he begins elementary school? Reading aloud to kids and pointing out letters and how they build words in a great start and makes a huge difference to reading readiness.

Richly Middle Class is proud to support A Book on Every Bed. As part of this incentive, they are giving away a book a month to the visitor who best outlines how he/she will use this book to encourage love of reading in his/her home, school or community.

Z is for Moose

This month’s selection is one that focuses on letters: Bingham, Kelly L.
Z is for Moose by Kelly L. Bingham with delightful illustrations by Paul Zelinsky. Moose is very eager to be part of an alphabet book until his letter is passed by. Zebra helps solve the problem.

Please enter our Book on Every Bed Monthly Giveaway. We will be giving away three books this month.

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Be the change you'd like to see in the world. Gandhi - Always, Gail

About glennon

Gail is a former teacher, a published writer, and a professional editor. She makes her home in Canada for the summer and Florida for the winter. She loves to write, to travel, and to meet new writers through her editing business. She is thrilled to play a small part in Richly Middle Class. Visit her website at http://www.gleditingandcopywriting.com.

38 comments

  1. Hi!
    We received our book yesterday and I must say it is much nice than I expected! Beautiful book! Thank you so much, we really appreciate it!

  2. I love reading books with my children and I think that might be part of why we have 4 of them and many books. I think this book would be fun to read with the kids as it sounds like it has a lot of humor in it and maybe a lesson children who feel like they might need more of a spot light might be able to connect deeply to as well!
    Kimberly C. recently posted…The Zen of Attachment Parenting Older ChildrenMy Profile

    • Hi Kimberly:

      I just read and enjoyed your post on parenting older children. Thanks for stopping by an commenting on “A Book on Every Bed”. It sounds as if the book would get a great home and good use at your house! Good luck in the contest.

      Gail
      glennon recently posted…You Have One Life to LiveMy Profile

  3. My toddlers are Margaret Wise Brown books – especially Big Red Barn! My 10 yr old loves historical fiction books – his favorites are usually to do with the American Revolution.
    Debbie McMullen recently posted…Kids Costume Review: Star Wars!My Profile

  4. I love reading books like this with my toddler! She’s learning so much from them too! I don’t know how many books we read everyday but she spends most of her time bringing me books to read with her and that’s something I will not refuse :)
    Debbie McMullen recently posted…Kids Costume Review: Star Wars!My Profile

  5. I Love You More… Than Chocolate, it was illustrated by a family friend so we read it a lot :)
    Jennifer Pierce recently posted…New House Time to DIYMy Profile

  6. I love to read to my kiddos and we are always looking for new books.
    Jennifer Pierce recently posted…New House Time to DIYMy Profile

    • Hi Jennifer. Thanks for your comment and visiting RMC. I try and read a book nightly to my two children as well. Night time isn’t the same without it. I’ve had a lot of luck finding some good books at thrift stores and garage sales where they are sold for a fraction of the price. Have a great day!

      Heather
      Heather T recently posted…The Five Most Annoying PeopleMy Profile

    • Hi Jennifer:

      Thanks for visiting RMC and commenting. I think reading to your kids is a special time for both you and the kids. I too am always on the lookout for great read-aloud books. I especially like funny ones. Many times the kids and I have dissolved in laughter over a funny book. Their giggles are music to my ears!

      Good luck in the contest. I know you and the kids will enjoy this book.

      Gail
      glennon recently posted…Laughter is Good Medicine!My Profile

  7. I love books and reading to my baby
    Allie recently posted…Innovia Automatic Paper Towel Dispenser Review & GiveawayMy Profile

  8. Abigail loves the Biscuit series! She thinks the puppy is cute :)
    Rachael Henzman recently posted…The EmPURRium Review, Discount Code and GiveawayMy Profile

    • Hi Rachael. I’ll have to look into that series. My children and I are always looking for new books to read in the evening. My kids love Pete the Cat series. Check it out if you’re not familiar with it. They sing “I Love My White Shoes” all the time.

      Have a great day!

      Heather
      Heather T recently posted…The Five Most Annoying PeopleMy Profile

  9. I would love to read it to my niece when she comes to visit! Thanks for the giveaway!
    Rachael Henzman recently posted…The EmPURRium Review, Discount Code and GiveawayMy Profile

  10. I would love to have this book in my house. When I read to my toddler, her mind sort of wanders and she loses interest except when there are animals involved. That’s when I have her full attention! This book would no doubt be a hit in my house.
    Anna M recently posted…MyMemories Suite Scrapbooking Software Giveaway Ends 4/9 US OnlyMy Profile

  11. That looks like a great book. I have never read it but we work a lot with letters in our house and love anything that incorporates them in a fun way like animals!

  12. Z is for moose? I’d like to read this story to find out how that is, lol. :)
    Ronda recently posted…Review of “The X” Book by Lorena Bathey!My Profile

  13. All my kids are avid readers. I like to think it’s because we read to them since they were born!
    Suzanne Wittman recently posted…A Worthy Cause: Textbooks & Operation SmileMy Profile

  14. I love “If you give a dog a doughnut” because just the idea of the dog doing aloof those things is so funny to me!

  15. I would love to win this book to read with my son, he live animals and laughs at them doing silly things. It looks like it would be a great teaching aid.

  16. Hi Cynthia and Heather:

    How generous of Richly Middle Class to provide three books this month! Thanks so much for continuing to support A Book on Every Bed and child literacy.

    Gail
    glennon recently posted…How Many Pillows Does it take to make a bed?My Profile

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