Q: I know that reading to my children can help them learn how to read better. I wonder though if there are other benefits?
A: When I talk to parents about reading to their young children, they often tell me how important it is to them as it’s a way of educating them. While that’s an essential benefit of reading, research has shown that there are multiple advantages to reading to your children when they are young.
Stronger parent-child relationships. With our lives constantly on the move, we all need some time to slow down and just quietly be together. Snuggling up with a book lets your family do just that. Plus, instead of seeing reading as a chore, your child will view it as a nurturing activity that brings the family together.
Speech skills. Simply reading books by Dr. Seuss or Maurice Sendak can help your child reinforce the basic sounds that form language. These pre-literacy skills will continue to help them as they grow.
Basic book knowledge. Children do not automatically know that books are read from left to right or that you hold a book and turn the pages as you go. As simple as that may seem, this early knowledge will help your children once they start encountering books in school.
Academic excellence. Julie Temple Stan, the director of Early Moments, a company devoted to childhood literacy, writes that “numerous studies have shown that students who are exposed to reading before preschool are more likely to do well in all facets of formal education. After all, if a student struggles to put together words and sentences, how can he be expected to grasp the math, science, and social concepts he’ll be presented with when he begins elementary school?”
Superior concentration and discipline. With so many new cases of ADHD reported each year, it is important to help children learn how to sit still. With comprehension comes more self-discipline, a longer attention span, and better memory retention.
Q: What does twice exceptional or 2e mean?
A: The term “twice exceptional” is still new in educational jargon – but it is something that is becoming more prevalent in my practice today. Twice exceptional children have a combination of exceptional intellectual power and uncommonly formidable mental roadblocks. That is, twice exceptional children are gifted intellectually and also can have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Aspergers Syndrome, Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD), or dyslexia.
Many times, children who are twice exceptional can become problem students – even though they are head and shoulders above the crowd intellectually. A perfect case of a child who was twice exceptional is Albert Einstein. Even though Einstein was brilliant when it came to visual and spatial reasoning, he exhibited behavioral issues, was a terrible speller, and had trouble verbally expressing himself. In many subjects, his report card grades were close to failing. Obviously, there was something else going on for the young Albert Einstein – though brilliant, his needs were not always met by the school system.
Research has also established that children who are 2e are the most underserved populations in the school system. Most of the time, children who are twice exceptional go through school without recognition of their considerable talents. Instead, they enter adult life without the necessary skills to compensate for their learning disabilities. Therefore, many of these children develop low self-esteem and believe that they are simply stupid and “not good at school.” The shocking news is that The US Department of Education estimates that 2%-5% of all students are both gifted intellectually and suffer from some form of learning disability.
About the Author: An acclaimed educator and social skills specialist, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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