The gift of reading is a wonderful way to create a loving parent/child bond. It is also a great way to help a child get a head start in school.

Teachers know that the more a child is read to the easier their job will be in the classroom. A child introduced to reading early at home has a much smoother transition into a school setting.

John Funk is a longtime teacher who has worked in early childhood education since 1979 (teaching from preschool to second grade). He currently teaches university courses in early childhood education. He believes that you should begin to read to your child as soon as possible.

He said, "Reading to a child directly affects that child's learning ability." He went on to say, "Children who are read to consistently have a larger vocabulary, they have better communication and language skills and usually understand the process of reading better than children who have not been read to routinely. "

Perform better in school

He feels that a child who is read to consistently performs well in school. And parents who read to their children on a regular basis are more likely to support those children in school. He said, "The number one factor in a child's success in school is their parent's participation."

Enhance closeness

You will know you have been successful in sharing the gift of reading if even after they've learned to read on their own your child still asks for you to read them a story. The closeness they feel as you share a book together is something you can't duplicate any other way. You are giving them skills that will help them attain their best while sharing a wonderful pastime.

Escape life

The ability to escape into other worlds through literature is a great skill. Life can be tough at times and reading will allow your children to leave their problems behind for a time as they escape into a story.

As you come across your child totally engrossed in their favorite book or reading under the covers with a flashlight after lights out you will know you've passed on to them something of lasting value.

For more information on education and reading see John Funk's blog, Topics in Early Childhood Education.

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