We named our company Unite for Literacy because our free, online library with books narrated in up to 30 languages has value for everyone, everywhere who is interested in promoting literacy. That is to say, we are not involved in any way in the ongoing debate about a one and only true way to advance reading and writing for new readers.
We are happy to supply the many sides of that never-ending conversation with an abundance of narrated picture books for reading newbies and those learning English. How parents and volunteers and professionals choose to use our books is up to them. Our only interest is that everyone who needs culturally relevant books to learn to read is not hindered by cost or lack of supply.
(I prefaced the following with the above remarks to ensure that all the readers of this little blog understand that by endorsing the work of an organization we are not rejecting any other individual or group.)
Having said that, I must say that we have found that the advocacy work of Read Aloud 15 Minutes is both well-conceived and beautifully delivered. That is why we are listed on their website as a National Campaign Pulse Partner. These folks work tirelessly to encourage parents, siblings, other family members, neighbors and anybody else who has 15 minutes to spare, to do good for the world and those they care for by reading aloud with them. I don’t think there is anyone who would argue against the value of that simple dictum.
Today, Read Aloud 15 Minutes sent out an infographic * about the utmost importance of investing that 15 minutes during a specific window of time—birth to about age 8 years. That’s the period during which those I refer to as new readers are actually newborns and infants and toddlers and preschoolers, whom few of us expect will be reading independently at all for a while.
The message of that infographic is:
Parents, it’s up to you! If you wait, it’s too late.
Now, to be fair, the substance of this well-researched infographic is that language growth and brain development do have a window of opportunity that evidently closes around the age of 6 years. So, I am completely behind the Don’t Wait! part of this message. The time to start reading to new readers is now. If that new reader is just born, start now. If she is a preschooler, start now.
In addition, I also wholeheartedly endorse starting now to read to new readers of any age and level of brain development. So, if he is a 3rd grader, well past this brain growth spurt, still start reading to him now. If they are tweens or teens or young adults or in a retirement home, start reading to them now.
It may become too late for reading aloud to impact brain structure of a given new reader, but it is never, ever too late to impact language development and to launch the joys and opportunities of literacy development.
Further, no one is ever too old to enjoy and benefit from being read to.
*Click that link to download, or click the image above to view it more closely