Home Environment of Early Readers

We have known that the home environment plays an important role in the development of early readers for over a quarter of a century. According to Jim Trelease, author of The New Read-Aloud Handbook, two major studies* (one from the 1966 and one from 1975) have been done on early readers as well as students who respond to early education without difficulty. These studies show that the following four indicators were present in the home environement of nearly every early reader.

  1. The child is read to on a regular basis. This reading included not only books, but billboards, signs, labels, and more. The parents, by example, were avid readers.
  2. Books, newspapers, magazines, and comics were always available in the home.
  3. Paper and pencils were also available. Dolores Durkin explained, “Almost without exception, the starting point of curiosity about written language was an interest in copying objects and letters of the alphabet.”
  4. Finally, Trealease explains that people in the child’s home answered endless questions, praised the child’s efforts, used their local library frequently, bought books, wrote stories that their child dictated and displayed their child’s work prominently.

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*Dolores Durkin, Children Who Read Early (New York: Teachers College Press, 1966), and Margaret M. Clark, Young Fluent Readers (London: Heinemann, 1976).

Visit Jim Tealease’s website, a great site for anyone interested in children’s reading and education. Special emphasis is placed on the importance of reading aloud to children of all ages.