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Children need to be read to 
for a thousand hours
between birth and six years old.
Children need to be read to
for a thousand hours
between birth and six years old.


(# 1412)


380 words


How To Teach A Child To Read, Part 1
by Dianne Roth


Forgive this grandma for bragging... Noah, at four months old, can read! No one will believe me, but I have pictures to prove it. Well, maybe he doesn’t read the words. What is reading, anyway? I argue that reading is made up of many behaviors, only one of which is naming the words.

Let me tell you his story.

On Noah’s very first day, in the hospital, his mama and daddy began to read to him. They read to him several times each day. At four months old I was astounded. Noah sat in my son's lap, holding his hands together, listening to his daddy read to him. But, he wasn’t just listening. He was looking at each page, sometimes intently, sometimes with a big smile on his face.

Later that day, Mary was lying on the floor with Noah. She held the book over him and read. He was focused on the book for about 15 minutes.

I brought him a book with a caterpillar puppet in it. He and his little friend, Anna Rose, age 3, were totally engaged. Noah vocalized along with me as I turned each page. He held the book himself and reached over with his hand to turn the page to the left. After watching Anna Rose kiss the little caterpillar, he leaned forward and put the puppet into his mouth. Now, if that is not reading, what is it?!!

Noah does not have all the behaviors, but he has some of them. He listens when he is read to. He looks at the pictures. He “talks” when I am reading, because that is what you do when you read a book. He holds the book. He turns the page. He becomes engaged by the characters. And, best of all, he has a big smile on his face. Noah knows a lot about reading and he is only four months old.

Is he gifted? I think not. At least, no more than any new grandma thinks that her grandbaby is gifted. I am sure he will arrive at school ready to read and I expect he will become a reader between his sixth and seventh birthday. I know he will have a love of reading and hunger for books that will last his lifetime.


Dianne Roth is a teacher, mother, grandmother, and freelance writer. She lives in Oregon.




Last updated on October 8, 2012