Give to the KCDC

Lap Reading

One of the spots the kids love the best is our couch.  Most of the time there is a teacher reading books to 2-3 kids, although favorite books like Pete the Cat or Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late or Owl Babies draw a bigger crowd.  The kids choose books from a very full bookshelf, finding a few to save on their laps for their turn to pick the next book.  The dialogue begins as everyone gets settled and the teacher reads the cover.  Questions often begin.  What do you think this book will be about?  Look at the pictures – What do you think is happening?  What do you think might happen next?  When kids have the time to predict, they can be very creative and very silly!  The playfulness leads them to connect with both the teacher and the books, and it gives them ample opportunities to practice their growing language skills.

Research demonstrates how vital this “lap reading” is for young children.  The emotional connection the kids make to both the adult and the story sets the stage for a lifelong love of reading.  Physical contact, conversation, and listening to a human voice all help the brain learn about how language and stories work, help kids learn critical thinking skills, and build a foundation of the joy of reading.

Our kids need to hear our voices and sit on our laps and choose from good books to best become fantastic readers in the future.  How many hours a preschooler is read to (by a person!) is one of the best predictors of future success in reading because they develop a relationship and interact with both the adult and the literature.  So, if you have a preschooler in your life, go find and couch and a book and cuddle up for some reading time.  It’s one of the best investments you can make!

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