Essay on Literacy: The Importance Of Reading To Children

It is well known that reading to children, especially throughout the toddler and pre-school years, is positively correlated with increased reading and literacy levels throughout the school-age years. One particular study (Lee, 2010) investigated the impact of reading to children specifically during morning transitional periods at a childcare facility. The implications of this study show that there could be numerous benefits linked to parents reading to their children during these periods in particular.

Lee (2010) used background information about the importance of parental and teacher influence on literacy development and motivation for reading and the importance of the relationship between parents and teachers to develop a new study. This study aimed to determine if reading with parents during morning drop-off times at a child-care facility eases transitions while simultaneously fostering literacy development. Additionally, Lee investigated how this impacted the relationship between teachers and parents.

To carry out the study, Lee (2010) used a sample of 15 children between two and three years old from an urban full-day toddler daycare class. Throughout the observations, a lead teacher currently pursuing a Master’s degree, and an assistant teacher that either had previously obtained a Bachelor’s degree or was currently pursuing the degree were both present. The parents of the children were highly educated and worked in a college or university. The study was considered an ethnographic case study, because it takes place in only the toddler’s classroom and focuses on specific contexts, such as parental involvement.

The researcher observed the toddler’s classroom during morning transition times from 7:40 am – 8:40 am and collected data three times a week for 11 months. They compared the data and looked for patterns of behaviors and found three consistent themes: short presence of parents, storybook reading with parents, and direct/indirect interactions between parents and teachers (Lee, 2010). The first theme demonstrates that when parents stay for a short period of time, without interacting with their child or the teachers, the child has a more difficult time transitioning.

On the other hand, the second theme shows that when parents read a book and interact with their children before leaving, it not only facilitates a smoother transition, but it also promotes both independent and group reading. However, it is important to note that Lee (2010) clarifies that staying too long can also have a negative impact on transition. Additionally, reading to children helps to foster a stronger relationship between parent and teacher. This third theme, which demonstrates how parents and teachers tend to work with each other during these transition times when parents stay and interact with their children.

For example, reading the same book or interacting with the group together. However, the study does have limitations. It focuses only on interactions during morning transition times. Parental demographics and literacy habits with their children were taken into consideration. The children’s own reading competence or temperament differences were also not taken into consideration. The families and teachers were all from a similar background and there was little diversity in the study. Additionally, it is possible that any interactions during morning transition times could produce the same results, not solely reading.

In addition to diversifying the study, it could be made stronger by creating a control group in which parents did not read to their children during transitional periods and an experimental group where parents did read to their children during transitional periods. The overall findings of the study suggest that parental involvement in reading during morning transition times smooths transitions, promotes literacy development, and strengthens interactions between parents and teachers (Lee, 2010).

This suggests that in addition to reading to children at home, there are a number of benefits to taking extra time in the morning to read during morning drop-off periods. This is especially relevant to parents of toddlers and preschoolers, who tend to have a particularly difficult time transitioning in the morning and are also in the process of developing literacy skills. Often times morning drop-off periods are rushed and chaotic because parents need to get to work on time.

For example, in the study (Lee, 2010) two year old David’s mother quickly signed him in, led him to the group of children, and then left. This resulted in 20 minutes of crying. This mother completely relied on the teachers to help her son transition from home to school. Parents also tend to trust their children’s educational development to the teachers. While the education system is important and valuable in teaching children, it is still important for parents to be involved in this process and not rely solely on the education system.

As the study suggests, one way to do this is to form a strong relationship between the parent and the teacher. If the parents understand what the children are learning in school, understand what their role in the child’s education is, and feel confident in their abilities, they are more likely to help their child grow. In general, parents should be cautious of being overwhelmed by their fast-paced lives and ensure that they take time to be involved with their children both at home and in educational settings.

Another benefit to interactions such as reading with children during morning transition periods is that it creates a set routine for children to follow. Not only does this allow for smoother transitions, but it allows children to have a predictable, stable, and secure schedule that is important for their development. It also allows for children to maintain support from their primary caregiver during the stressful event of going from home to daycare. While it is important for parents to let their children experience some stress, it is also important that they comfort them and help regulate their stress response.

Reading and interacting with their children during drop-off provides the opportunity for both of these important parenting practices. Because the study did not have a control group and an experimental group and relies only on observational data, causation cannot be determined. Therefore, this study does not present evidence that children whose parents read to them during morning transitional periods experience higher measured literacy rates compared to children whose parents do not read to them during drop-off.

However, the study does suggest that children whose parents read to them and interact with them during morning transitional periods experience an increased number of opportunities for literacy development in addition to the benefits of a smoother transition and an improved relationship between parents and teachers. While further research should be conducted, the study provides valuable evidence that parental reading to children during morning transitional periods leads to numerous positive outcomes.