There has been some recent online conversation over at Jen Robinson's Book Page regarding the importance of reading aloud to our children. For the full discussion, click here. Being as how this has been a passion of mine for years, I could not help but eventually post something here!
First things first . . . do I read aloud to my children? I sure do!! I believe that I take a bit of a unique approach to it, however. When my children are infants, I read CHAPTER books to them as part of our nightly routine! I'm not necessarily talking little chapter books, I'm talking series and some big ol' fat ones!! With my son, I had read aloud the first five Harry Potter books to him by the time he was five months old. Other titles included The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, and so many more. My daughter is still an infant and I have once again continued on with this tradition, reading books from the Chronicles of Narnia, Beverly Cleary titles, and more! Many wonder how I can get them to sit still for so long . . . I do it while I am nursing!! They are not going anywhere and I can't stand just sitting there not doing anything!! I believe that now that my son is older, he already has a love for reading and learning. He has not officially started school and he already "reads" in bed before turning the lights out! This is already after his dad or myself have read aloud to him. I've even caught my son "reading" to my daughter!!
A few years back, I worked in a high school classroom in which the students were reading at low elementary levels. I have seen how these students have struggled, but I have also seen how excited they get when they have seen the progress they have made or simply, finished a book that they have loved!! With my experience here, I understand Amy's perspective that she shared on her blog . . . it can be very difficult for parents to read aloud to their children if they have low reading levels. And, I was thinking to myself that are we not already preaching to the choir in the book blogosphere? We are already readers and love to share our passion for it!
As I began reading the comments, it was interesting to read all the comments and ideas shared by Jen's readers. I think some of them expanded beyond the avid readers and thought that many good ideas were shared. However, one in particular stood out to me and I felt that I had to act on it myself!
Much of the research out there that is provided through this discussion comes from the program, Reach Out and Read: a program in which this very topic is discussed and encouraged via a pediatric exam room! Since my husband will be graduating in a few short months as a doctor, I thought that this was a great medium!! However, only the AMA was brought up as a way to get the word out. For those that have forgotten or are not aware, your doctors are not always M.D.'s! You may just have a D.O. treating you and your children as well! (If you are not sure what this is, feel free to check out this website.) And, in addition to this, there are also advocate groups to both of these medical organizations (i.e., spouses, signifcant others, etc. to these doctors and the medical field)! What about them?
Well, I'm a person that does not like to just talk about being proactive, but to actually BE proactive as well!! I have already sent an email to a board member of the Advocates to the American Osteopathic Association to see what we can do!! They are meeting in the near future, so we will see what comes of it! I also intend to see if the individual advocate chapter that I am a part of can do something about this as well. And, I also plan to post something about it over at my medical blog as well later today!
Any of my other advocate readers or otherwise want to help spread the word or work with me on this one?