Importance of learning to read before kindergarten

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- Chelsea Moore began taking her son, Ronan, to the library for story time when he was just seven months old.

"Going to the library was a nice way for me to get out of the house with a young kid, meet other parents and he would just sit there and listen," said Moore.

As time went by, Ronan was playing with the other children, singing along, responding to the story teller and picking up books.

Ronan's now three-years-old. His sister, Amelia, is 18-months-old. The routine continues. They're often found at the library, picking out books, listening and responding as Moore reads.

At home, there are even more books.

"They're learning how to imagine," said Moore. "He will sit down and read with his stuffed animals. There are different words and phrases that I don't use at school, so they're being exposed to different language skills."

And it's paying off. The love of books and reading has taken hold.

"He even likes to go through cookbooks. We have to go through a cookbook and we read the ingredients to him and talk about how we make things," said Moore.

It's more than just reading and listening.

"They relate the stories and what they're seeing to real life. That person's not being nice. What do you think about that? He likes to chime in and ask questions," said Moore.

In a few years when Ronan and Amelia go to school, the expectation is they'll know how to read before entering the classroom.

Jeff Scott, the library director for Washoe County in Nevada, said, "A lot of children read before they get to kindergarten. But that's one of the critical things, getting a basic level of understanding language, letters, learning to read. That increases their chances."

Not only chances in school, but Scott argued, chances for success later in life.

Moore said she's passing on a love of books she learned from her parents.

"One thing my mom did was I had a book chart and once I read about 20 books I got a prize," she explained.

Washoe County libraries have something similar. It's called "A thousand books before Kindergarten."

Parents can sign up at any branch. The library will keep a log of books read. It's a goal with a big payoff.

"It's not like we're telling them to eat their vegetables, eat their carrots. Tell them to read every night. It's a fun activity for the parents and their child. It's an easy way to prepare them for their future," said Scott.



 
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