Editorial

The Cullman County Library launched its “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” reading program last week, and it’s a program every parent of a pre-k should be participating in. Reading to children has shown to improve their behavior, vocabulary and set them up for academic success across all subjects.

Reading to babies helps them develop language skills. Studies have shown that reading to infants stimulates areas of the brain associated with visual imagery and language. As you read “Cat in the Hat,” their little brains are connecting words to objects, building their language skills that will prepare them for school. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), one in three American children start kindergarten without the language skills needed to learn to read.

This deficit gets them off to a bad start. “Reading proficiency by the third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success,” an AAP report states.

Instilling in children a habit of reading and a love of books also helps them in every other area of academic study. Research done by the University of Malaga in Spain and University College London in the UK found that children who read books on a daily basis perform better on tests, including in math and science.

Reading introduces young minds to new worlds and people, exercises their brains and teaches them empathy. Children’s Librarian Jamielle Dimbo also notes the emotional impact of reading to young children. Story time provides children with their parents’ undivided attention, creating bonding moments. It’s also an opportunity to unplug from electronics and relax and unwind.

Participating in the “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” is simple. Go by the library, sign up and receive instructions and other materials. Then just start reading. Older children can have the joy of picking out the books they want to hear or read - sometimes over and over and over again - but each time counts. For every 100 books read, children will get incentives to encourage them to keep going.

So give a mouse a cookie, hop on pop, check out Pete the Cat’s cool white shoes, say “Goodnight, Moon,” go where the wild things are, say no to green eggs and ham or discover other favorites that will take you and your children to imaginary places and success in life.

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