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Reading to your children is beneficial

An array of research shows reading to children helps them develop

Kurtis Hagen reads to his children, Kai, 4, and Erik, 2, at Plattsburgh Public Library.

Kurtis Hagen reads to his children, Kai, 4, and Erik, 2, at Plattsburgh Public Library. Photo by Stephen Bartlett.

— Kurtis Hagen has hundreds of children’s books for his kids.

And he takes Kai, 4, and Erik, 2, to the library at least every other week.

“It’s nice to get them out of the house and to check out books for them,” said Hagen, of Plattsburgh.

He’s a strong proponent of reading to children, saying it helps prepare them for school and assists with their development.

He is not the only one saying that, with research strongly backing both points he made and much more for children who are read to by their parents or guardians.

“We’ve gone through our entire collection, and they want new books,” Hagen said. “From everything I have read educationally, the most important thing you can do for a child is to read to them.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 26 percent of children who were read to three or four times in the last week by a family member recognized all letters of the alphabet, compared to 14 percent of children who were read to less frequently or not at all.

About 15 minutes before bed time is ideal for reading to children, said Stan Ransom, director of the Plattsburgh Public Library.

“Once you get in the habit the child starts to take an interest.”

The child begins to absorb the transition from book to spoken word and starts to recognize words such as cat, Ransom said.

The Plattsburgh Public library tries to supply the foundation for parents reading to children.

Children read roughly 890 books at the Plattsburgh Public Library last summer. About 219 children participated in the program.

Ransom recommended books such as the “I Spy” series, which helps children recognize shapes first and then words.

One of the library’s goals is to introduce children to reading and books and assist parents by offering advice on good books to read.

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