The Importance of Literacy

posted by Karen Hood
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The importance of literacy is obvious. Everywhere you look, you see words – on signs, in training manuals, on buses, in books. Adults who can’t read risk becoming isolated from society. Illiteracy affects their ability to find jobs, and ultimately, their very survival.

That’s why it’s so important to get kids reading when they’re young, long before they become adults. Even though their physical survival may not depend on knowing how to read a book, children do gain skills for coping with life when they learn to read.

Early childhood literacy begins in preschool (if not sooner), when books and pictures are introduced to children with the intention of getting them familiar with letters, numbers, and symbols.

Children who fall in love with the experience of reading when they’re young are likely to enjoy it when they’re older too. Early exposure to books, typically through being read to by a parent, grandparent, or other care-giver, instills in children a sense of security and warmth. The positive feelings these children get from books grows into a desire to read books for themselves when they’re older.

Multiply this experience by hundreds of children and what do you get? An end to illiteracy! Of course, it’s not really that simple. Some children will need extra help due to learning differences or other types of challenges, but reading aloud to youngsters WILL help prepare them for learning other subjects as they grow. More proof of the importance of literacy.

Literacy experts have discovered that continuing to read to children into their teens improves their vocabulary dramatically, and also helps strengthen emotional bonds between the child and his or her parent or teacher. These benefits alone will help improve the child’s life in a multitude of ways, some of which may not be apparent for decades.

If you still need proof of the importance of literacy, just talk to an adult who missed out on the privilege of learning to read when he or she was young, and find out how that’s impacted their life.

by Christine Wilson
Source: Kids & Books



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