I was talking with a neighbor this morning about the amazing-ness of her two year old twins. Born at 32 weeks, each weighing under four pounds, they show no developmental signs of their early beginnings.
When I asked my neighbor why she thought they were doing so remarkably well she said, “Well, we read to them all the time.”
Now, this is a relatively new neighbor who didn’t know what I did, so I promise this was not a plant.
And then she went on… She told me that parents in the twins’ nursery school class often comment on how verbal her children are. When she tells these parents, “Well, we read to them all the time.”, the other parents will often say, “Gosh, we really need to start doing that.”
Start doing that!? These are parents of two year old children.
Our country has acknowledged (while not doing much about it) that children in our urban districts need literacy support.
Often their parents are working multiple jobs leaving little time to be home reading. Often there is barely enough money to put food on the table never mind books on the bookshelves. Often their public libraries and school libraries have been closed because of ridiculous budget cuts. We know the struggles of these families.
We either have not acknowledged or are too embarrassed to talk about the fact that the children in our suburban districts need literacy support too.
Their parents may also be working multiple jobs leaving little time to be home reading. Or their children are enrolled in so many sports and activities that any time at home is needed for homework, eating and sleep. Often while there is plenty of money to be spent on books, that money is going elsewhere. Often these parents leave literacy support to the schools, knowing that their child is getting an excellent education and assuming that a love of reading will come hand in hand with their time at school.
So yes, even here. We need to think about our children’s literacy development. Even here…
I think that you’re right, Stacey. It’s a bit harder to bring up in the suburbs, for some reason. Perhaps because it feels like more of a choice, when parents who have the resources (money, education, etc.) to instill a love of reading, well, don’t. And who are we to question other parents’ choices?
I love what your neighbor is doing, though. Quietly spreading the word, whenever anyone asks, that her twins are verbal because they are read to all the time. I think that’s a great approach.