The AERA conference was held this week in New Orleans. One hot study discussed in Education Week today shared statistially significant findings available this week here that strong reading skills by third grade predicted high school graduation. Although this is consistent with all current research on early literacy skills what are your thoughts on the literacy products out there for parents to utilize?
In my opinion:
Our society is pushing reading earlier to new extremes. Products such as My Baby Can Read has played on parents' fears that their children must be readers as soon as possible. Research has proven that parent exposure to all that is around them and fruitful conversations with your child does more if not the same as this $100 product which has negligible results.
However, the research consistently proves that being motivated, understanding and being accountable for literacy understanding, and parent involvement play a crucial role in beginning literacy. Putting your child in front of a computer game which will increase their reading skills but NOT their accountability levels to understanding what they are reading is not going to benefit a child's reading skills in the long run either.
Parents need to actively model and promote literacy through involvement in the process. Reading daily with and to your child is a must. Discussing literacy and vocabulary in context is necessary for children to develop reading comprehension and a rich vocabulary they will use in their daily lives.
I agree wholeheartedly, Erika! As new Wonders of the Day are created, we try to engage parents and children on a family level to encourage reading and sharing together. Each Wonder of the Day features "Wonder words to know and use" to help parents discuss new or difficult words with their children in the context of that day's Wonder. Although there are children who read through the Wonder of the Day on their own, learning is not as thorough as it could be if others aren't involved to discuss the topics and flesh out a great understanding of the vocabulary involved.