The Need To Read
"Stories and poems a child hears and reads are the most important part of the foundation upon which his life is being built."

These are the thoughts of Mrs. Olive Beaupre Miller, creator of the My Book House reading program. They summarize what we at The United Educators, Inc. believe about the fundamental importance of reading in your child's life.

By mastering basic listening and speaking skills your child will be able to recognize sounds and words, build vocabulary and understand the language structures they see on the written page. According to studies of the United States Department of Education, most failures and problems in the early school years are a result of neglected preparation at home.

On that first day of school what is expected of your child?

  • Expressiveness in words and action
  • Familiarity with numbers
  • A 15-minute span of concentration
  • A vocabulary of up to 6,800 words
  • The ability to communicate about living and learning

Will your child be ready? Children who are raised in an environment where they are talked and read to develop a brain advantage. When they encounter a rich variety of sounds, their brains develop listening and memory skills – the same skills needed for school.

It's Never Too Early
Language development begins before birth. As the infant hears the sounds of the environment, the brain is organizing those sounds into categories. Ultimately, this creates a foundation for the ability to read.

As the embryo’s brain cells (neurons) are formed, they begin to gather information. At this very early stage, the brain produces many more neurons than it needs. By eliminating the excess, it strengthens and connects the remainder through the long distance “transmission lines" of the nervous system called axons. These lines become the brain’s learning pathways.

Long before birth, an infant is tuning in to the melody of its mother’s voice and the rhythmic sound of her heartbeat. Both are constantly audible to prenatal ears through their connections to the brain. These connections are stimulated by different sounds, and when the sounds are consistent and similar the same neural connections are excited and strengthened again and again. Even for an embryo, the repetition of sounds makes them recognizable and familiar.

After birth, the brain experiences a second growth spurt, as the axons (which send signals) and dendrites (which receive them) rapidly expand the number of new neural connections. Sound is everywhere in an infant’s life. When new sounds are introduced, new cell patterns with new connections are formed and an increasing number of sounds become familiar. Before long, the infant begins to recognize that these sounds have meaning that they are words. For instance, as the mother repeatedly uses a word like "mama" to refer to herself, the baby begins to connect the sounds to their meaning and to understand who “mama" is. In addition, the baby soon becomes able to reproduce the speech sound of “mama" or “papa" much to the delight of the new parents.

All this is why we parents will talk and sing to our babies for months with no expectation that they will soon use the language they hear. Through the process of frequent repetition, parents will help their children begin to understand and, later, to reproduce words. It is through the early development of their listening, understanding and speaking vocabulary that children will later learn to read, write and spell.

The use of nursery rhymes and short stories develop these skills. Nursery rhymes are short, often use the same rhyming sounds, and offer a great deal of repetition. This allows the child to attend to the sounds of words and understand that some words begin or end the same way. Understanding that words often use the same sounds through syllables, a child learns the basics of phonics. This is often referred to “nursery rhyme effect" prepares the brain to read.

The right books can help you stimulate your child's language and learning potential even during the first weeks of life. When you take time each day to sing or say lullabies and rhymes, you will be providing the words, phrases and sentences that will form your child’s listening vocabulary now and the potential to master language later.

The Parent's Role
Your child is like an iceberg: 10% above the surface, 90% below. The physical child, the surface child, should receive 10% of the parent's time. The inner child -- the mental, emotional and spiritual child -- should receive the remaining 90%.

You are your child's first and best teacher. Research indicates that the family environment exerts the greatest influence on language development during the pre-school years. It can promote a faster, larger vocabulary and a better command of the rules of grammar. Parents can do the following things to stimulate the language development of the pre-school child:

  • Constantly remind your child that you love him or her; this is a major self-esteem builder.
  • Have frequent conversations with your child.
  • Make conversation time a special time. Talk with your child in simple, understandable language (not to be confused with "baby talk").
  • Ask your child questions that prompt more than a simple "yes" or "no" answer.
  • Repeat to your child what he or she has just said to make sure you have understood.
  • Read stories and books together.
  • Set aside a special time each day for reading.
  • Tell your child stories and encourage him or her to tell you stories.

What Educators Say
Parents are often unaware that their child's IQ, or ability to learn, is 80-90% formed by the age of four. With this in mind, they should place the highest priority on stimulating mental development. It is not enough to "let nature take its course." Instead, the parent needs to take concrete steps to prepare a child for later learning. Here are the reasons educators most often give for failure in the primary grades:

  • Inadequate preparation in the home
  • Inadequate vocabulary
  • Inability to pay attention
  • Insufficient story background
  • Lack of desire to read

The “nursery rhyme effect", along with parent child interaction, usually creates a bright child with good language skills and good reading potential. Parents, who interact with their child through the joy of language, give the child’s brain the care and feeding needed for later academic success.

What Parents Say
“As a school psychologist, I often run across students who are unsuccessful in school. Many of these students have not been given a stimulating home environment in the early years. This reading program including the Encyclopedias, the volume of books and the phonics program is a wonderful way to stimulate children’s minds prior to kindergarten." Jim and Anna Balducki, Flushing, New York

“Our children depend on us to be their teachers, it’s our responsibility to try to provide them with all the guidance and support we can. This program provides them the opportunity to explore many aspects of life through reading. I have never seen a program that is so rounded and complete as United Educators…. "The Kilbreath Family, Fitchburg, Massachusetts

“I cannot express my…excitement about your program. As a parent who will be home schooling, I find your books to be a savior. So much needful information for both our child and for us. And that is the beauty of this program, it doesn’t just reach our children but is also for us. "Barbara Caylor, Anchorage, Alaska

“Having a degree in elementary education I know the importance and value of reading…. Our daughter is three months old and she enjoys hearing a story each night before bed. We’re grateful we are able to give her the opportunity with the help of United Educators." Scott and Kim Belisle, Coon Rapids, Minnesota

“…as a former kindergarten teacher, I know first-hand what a difference home pre-schooling can make. Home must be the child’s first school, all throughout childhood…. The United Educators has arranged a thorough ‘kit’ of tools that may be trusted and relied upon to make the learning and teaching process at home easy and stimulating, and will no doubt leave children of all ages looking forward to the next story, lesson, picture, report, etc., etc., etc…." Cindy Lovenvirth