This is not an accident. Readers are not born, they are raised. Literacy is one of the best predictors of a child's future and being mostly unplugged is one of the big keys. Mozart gets more excited by libraries and book stores than candy shops as we travel the world.
“Learning is not to be found on a printout, it’s not on call at the touch of the finger. Learning is
acquired mainly from books, and most readily from great books.” - David McCullough ( Pulitzer Prize winner)
"Two thirds of eighth graders do not read at grade level" - NAEP Reading_2009
"The NAEP 2005 scores of 12th-graders were generally lower than their counterparts in 1992" -Scholastic
a fifth of 17-year-olds said they read almost every day for fun in
2004, down from nearly a third in 1984." - Department of Education
Mozart taught herself to read at two, was tested at a third grade level at barely three and was reading Harry Potter at 4, but you don't have to be a gifted learner to be a book lover and MUCH of it has to do with how the parents support reading and learning.
3 BEST TIPS ON RAISING A READER AND BOOKWORM
1) START EARLY
It is shocking to find out that only 45% of toddlers are read to on a daily basis and in the poorest neighborhoods of the U.S., there is only one book available for every 300 children.
We started reading to Mozart in two languages every day when she was in the womb ( and friends read to her in Mandarin and other languages) and we continued reading passionately to her TONS daily from birth on. We each read a book ( Dad's in Spanish) before bed to my pregnant belly, so there was a familiar continuity when she arrived and we continued that pattern and those books.
I have video of her first favorite book at just 4 days old that she absolutely adored ( a black and white board book and the butterfly photo particularly mesmerized her for months). She could turn regular book pages at 3 months and loved doing the little door openings on "Donde Esta Spot" with her Dad at the same age.
Yes, babies love books! The love of books is contagious passed from parent to child. I am a book lover, a daughter of book loving parents, sister to book loving siblings and mother to a book loving kid. Each of my siblings learned to read before Kindergarten and we are still avid readers today.
2) HAVE LOTS OF BOOKS EVERY WHERE
Our house was filled with quality books and we went to the library and book stores several times a week starting from birth. Even as a travel family, we've managed to have a ton of books and still spend lots of time in libraries and book stores every week.
Books in the bathroom, books in the kitchen, books in every room to grab and peruse. Books in the camper van, books on a bus, books in a purse always, books in knapsack, books for plane rides. Books are like gold, you always want one around to temp you.Great books are good for the brain!
"The fact is, writing is one heck of an informational medium — the best
ever invented. Neurological studies show that, as we learn to read, our
brains undergo extensive cellular changes that allow us to decipher the
meaning of words with breathtaking speed and enormous flexibility. By
comparison, gathering information through audio and video media is a
slow and cumbersome process." Nicholas Carr
Kids follow parents examples, so read books, not just online, just for the joy of reading. We love to read aloud together and one of our greatest pleasures these days, is cuddling up together, each with a good book.
3) PUT EXTREME LIMITS ON ALL SCREEN TIME
Screen time has a negative effect on literacy. Yes, we see babies every where playing on iphones and ipods by themselves as their parents work on theirs texting away, both lost in their digital worlds oblivious to the surroundings and each other, but it is much wiser to hold your baby and bring a real book and read to them. They have plenty of time to learn digital fluency when they are older and the tech will be completely different.
Many of the parents admiring our young reader of big books, have kids that are addicted to TV, tech and video games. They get spoiled by and addicted to the bells and whistles of tech and screens, so never get a chance to fall in love with books and the joy of reading quality literature.
screen-based lifestyle provides a gratifying, easy-sensation ‘yuk and
wow’ environment, which doesn’t require a young mind to work….We cannot
park our children in front of a screen and expect them to develop a long
attention span." Professor Susan Greenfield ( eminent neuroscientist)
"Research published in the world’s most reputable medical and scientific journals shows that the sheer amount of time children spend watching TV, DVDs, computers and the internet is linked with significant measurable biological changes in their bodies and brains that may have significant medical consequences." - Dr. Aric Sigman
"He is part of a generation which, more and more, is reading less and
less. This is having a negative impact on writing skills, depth of
expression and, in this case, employment prospects, at least while her
employers belong to Generation X."- Chris Harrison
We almost never watch TV, never bought cable, purposely do not have an iphone, (rarely even use our old cheap cell phone), bought a Kindle very late and use only as necessary and prefer to read real books as much as possible. I did let her play on StarFall for ten minutes, when she was learning to read at two, and a little Spanish Sesame Street videos, but we read real books for hours every day and spent time outside in nature exploring the real world when not reading. Even today, we do the same, making sure that we only use tech for limited time and educational purposes and educate her about it's addictive problems. We make sure she learns to use the tool, instead of the tools ( and endless marketing and consumerism) using her.
A Pew Research Center survey found 87 percent of 2,000 middle and high school teachers said the
Internet and digital technology have caused an "easily distracted generation with
short attention spans."
Mozart is an extremely capable digital native at 12, but thanks to lifelong severe limits that prevent time-wasting and brain-draining, mindless screen time, she has the luxury of time to read a ton of classic, great books which she thoroughly enjoys ( and studies show will give her sky-high SAT scores too ....effortlessly.) She also avoids some EMF dangers.
Oh, sooo much more to write on this topic, but I see I am running out of time and space, so will have to continue in other posts. What information and tips do you want to know about raising a reader and passionate bookworm?