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Lakita Reese Final Exam 1

The Benefits and Value of Introducing Children to Books at an Early Age

Good evening, my name is Lakita Reese, the schools media specialist. Tonight, I am
going to share with you valuable information on the benefits and values of introducing your child
to books at a young age and will conclude with providing some ways you can help your child
develop a love for books and reading.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 33% of 4
grade public
school students performed at or below the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress
(NAEP) reading tests (as cited by Reading is Fundamental, n.d.). Among those 4
44% of African- American students, 41% of Hispanics, and 37% of American Indian students
scored below the basic level on the NAEP reading tests (as cited by Reading is Fundamental,
n.d.). Additionally, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 43% of adults read
at or below the basic level (as cited by Reading is Fundamental, n.d.). These statistics show
how important is for parents and educators to promote and encourage reading in childrens lives.
From personal experience, I can remember my mother reading to me as a young child. As I
became older, she continually encouraged me and my siblings to read and required us to read a
book every summer. My mothers support and influence on enhancing my reading skills helped
me to be a successful honor roll student throughout all of my years of schooling as well as has
played a part in me being the successful professional I am today. It is essential for parents and
educators to expose students to the reading of books and literature at an early age so that students
can begin to develop the skills they need to be successful in school and in society. There are
three key benefits of introducing students to books and literature at an early age. They are: it
develops a love for reading, it prepares students for school and academic success, and it aids in
childrens emotional and social development.
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Reading to children at an early age is one of the first steps parents can take to help their
child gain a love for books and reading. When parents read orally to their child, it helps the child
see and feel the excitement and adventure in the books. Picture books and books that have
repetitive language also make reading fun and enticing to children (Norton & Norton, 2011).
This excitement and enjoyment that parents bring to reading books helps children to develop a
positive association with books and stimulates a lifelong love for reading (Reach out and Read,
2012). Reading fiction and science fiction books also takes children on journeys and adventures
that they would not be able to experience in real life. Other books such as non-fiction and
historical fiction help spark childrens interest in learning something new or visualizing and
learning about important events that happened in early time periods.
Reading books to children at a young age also prepares students for school and academic
success. For example, when parents read to children, especially during their early stages of
development, it can aid in their language and cognitive development processes. Reading books
during these development stages enhances childrens oral, writing, and thinking skills. A study
by Lohan (as cited in Norton & Norton, 2011), supports this fact. This study found that children
who were superior in oral language in kindergarten and first grade also excelled in reading and
writing in 6
grade (Norton & Norton, p. 9). Picture books, poetry books, and books that
include repetitive language enhance childrens language development by encouraging students to
expand their vocabularies and to practice sounding out words and phrases (Norton & Norton,
2011). In addition, picture books, poetry, and other types of childrens literature also enhance
students cognitive ability. Cognitive development is important because it affects students
thinking processes, such as their ability to observe, compare, summarize, apply, and criticize
(Norton & Norton, 2011). A variety of books help stimulate cognitive development. For
Lakita Reese Final Exam 3

example, picture books are excellent sources for students to utilize their observation and
comparison skills because they contain illustrations for students to comment on (Norton &
Norton, 2011). In addition, historical books and non-fiction books are informative books and
provide students the opportunity to summarize what they have learned (Norton & Norton, 2011).
Lastly, when children are exposed to literature and books at an early age, it can help them
develop the ability to express their emotions, show empathy toward others, as well as develop
their self-esteem. For example, books with animal characters often show children how to handle
fears, jealousy, and relationships with family members (Norton & Norton, 2011). In addition,
multicultural books can inform children about other cultures and how to empathize with people
from different cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, books can help students acquire beliefs,
values, and behaviors that are deemed important in society (Norton & Norton, 2011, p. 26).
These values and behaviors include distinguishing between good and bad, identifying with other
peoples feelings, and learning the roles of people in society such as police officers, teachers, and
nurses (Norton & Norton, 2011).
In conclusion, introducing children to literature and books at an early age is very
important. When children are exposed to reading and literature in their early stages of
development, they develop a love for reading that continues throughout their life. In addition,
reading literature at an early age helps students in their language and cognitive development.
When students develop advanced language and cognitive skills, they are more successful in
school. Literature also helps students develop emotional and social skills that will enable them to
thrive in their personal and social lives. Thus, tonight, I encourage you to read to your children
and make it a natural part of their daily routine. Also, encourage your child not only to read
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during the school year, but also during the summer. There are many available literature resources
on various topics that are available that will ignite a passion for lifelong reading.

Lakita Reese Final Exam 5

Norton, D. E., & Norton, S. E. (2011). Through the eyes of a child: An introduction to children's
literature. Boston: Pearson.
Reach out and Read (2012). Importance of Reading Aloud:Setting children up for success in
school and life. Retrieved from http://www.reachoutandread.org/why-we-
Reading is Fundamental (n.d.). Literacy Facts and Stats. Retrieved July 21, from