Never. Ever.

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highstakesWe 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. Grandma_Listens

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.

Never. Ever.

*Click that link to download, or click the image above to view it more closely


4 Responses to “Never. Ever.”

  1. Dr. George Hruby March 20, 2015 at 5:43 am #

    Mark: Recommending reading to young children is a great idea. Children develop their abilities in response to their experiences. Rich linguistic experiences foster language growth, concept growth, reasoning growth, and more. But kids do differ, and reading to a young child will not guarantee ease with reading, especially the decoding skills typically emphasized in early elementary grades. Still, my hunch is, kids who struggle with decoding due to, let us say, “inadequate elemental acuity,” can nonetheless compensate for that if they have strong language skills (linguistic comprehension). This is not a new idea in reading education theory, of course, But the preschool language development component you’re stressing is newly being appreciated. There’s just one more catch: the language experiences the child is developing language competence in response to need to be on par with the language expectations of the schools. Cultural disjunction (and our institutional blindness to it) constructs struggling readers.

    • Mark Condon March 23, 2015 at 3:37 pm #

      Good point, George. Although that last bit feels something like we’re blaming the 60 month olds who have no control over their lives prior to coming to school on day 1. What ever happened to the prime directive to all educators of meeting the child where s/he is? Should it matter where or even how the cultural disjunction comes from? That’s perhaps where we need to be serious about calling parents children’s first teachers and make some effort to ensure that young moms and dads have a solid sense of how to nurture their children for success in school and life.

  2. Dea Conrad-Curry March 20, 2015 at 7:19 am #

    Thank you for the work you do and keeping us abreast with your weekly newletters. The infographic you shared today is invaluable! Look forward to learning more from you.

    • Mark Condon March 23, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

      Thanks Dr. Dea. Please share us with the educators with whom you work.