Reading Aloud at an Early Age
Toru Kumon promoted the idea of children reading from as early an age as possible with the phrase, “reading before the age of three.” He stated, “Children can easily learn to read before the age of three if you have them listen to songs and read to them.”
The Kumon Reading Program begins at the preschool level by having children connect words to familiar objects. The assignments build incrementally, with each worksheet teaching a lesson that’s one small step more advanced than the lesson before, reducing the likelihood of students hitting a wall and becoming discouraged. To help encourage reading at an early age, Kumon parents can take advantage of resources like Kumon’s Recommended Reading List, which has a section dedicated to read-aloud books.
Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a policy statement that recommends pediatric providers advise parents that reading aloud to children from infancy to kindergarten builds language and literacy skills and stimulates brain development. According to a recent article published by the AAP, “Children who are read to during infancy and preschool years have better language skills when they start school and are more interested in reading.”
Providing young children with plentiful opportunities to listen to stories will help them, over time, learn to read and comprehend stories on their own. They also can begin to think more actively as they listen to stories and picture the scenes described, wondering how the story will develop. When read to frequently, children can grow to love reading, and will take the initiative to read more on their own.