My grandfather read to me in sometimes in German and more often in French. My parents didn’t, although they may have done when I was really small. I read a huge amount as a child because I had no TV, no computer, no radio and was not allowed to make any noise because my grandfather was ill or to go into town alone. If you want your child to read more, try to make sure she is under-stimulated, basically. It’s a trade-off.
I used to read to students sometimes, although I didn’t teach anklebiters for more than a few months. The problem with a class is that it’s hard for them to all gather round the book, so it’s not really a huge departure from any other kind of edutainment I was rolling out. ‘Big Books’ rule, but they are really expensive. Certainly worth doing, but not a replacement for parental reading. Individual, one to one reading is more beneficial as the kids connect the yap mummy’s coming out with with the words and pics on the page.
The ‘downsides’ (not that they are actual downsides, just other aspects) are that obviously it’s more to do with the social contact than actual reading. Learning to read earlier gives a child no educational or intellectual advantage; they just do it slower and less accurately when younger, so arguably it’s a waste of time from that point of view. Play is probably more important for their development. Also, if kids connect it with being in bed and being with mummy with her sole attention, then they may be uninterested in doing it at other times.
sandman, cracking sequel action there. Getting them away from children’s books asap is pretty important. Those things are pure shite. Have you read ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’? Poor character development, very loose plot and some glaring factual inaccuracies. The wee tadpole’s quite young. You could get him started on ‘Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ and he’d be done by puberty. Did you know, they actually publish books for ‘young adults’, now? Heh!