How Early Can I Teach My Child To Read?
Did you know that 38% of grade four students have reading abilities below the lowest basic level as determined by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)? The NAEP is the only ongoing survey of what students known and tracks their performance in various academic subjects for the United States. In their report, the NAEP found that 38% of grade four students had reading achievement below basic levels, with a basic level reading score being 208.
To put things in perspective, the US reading scale has an upper limit score of 500, with average reading scores for grade 4 (217), grade 8 (264), and grade 12 (291). The grade 4 reading achievement levels are categorized by the NAEP as Advanced (268 score), Proficient (238 score), and Basic (208 score), and the basic reading achievement level is defined as follows by the NAEP:
Fourth-grade students performing at the Basic level should demonstrate an understanding of the overall meaning of what they read. When reading text appropriate for fourth graders, they should be able to make relatively obvious connections between the text and their own experiences and extend the ideas in the text by making simple inferences. 
Overcoming reading difficulties
Unfortunately, over a third of all grade four students read at levels even below basic. Is your child having reading difficulties? Research on Phonemic Awareness have found that early reading helps improves a child's reading and spelling abilities. In fact, the National Reading Panel has concluded based on their massive review of over 1,900 studies that teaching phonics and phonemic awareness produces better reading results than whole language programs.
There are numerous documented benefits and advantages of teaching children to read early on, and teaching them to reading using phonics and phonemic awareness instructions. It is clear that early language and reading ability development passes great benefits to the child as they progress through school at all grades, and that early language and reading problems can lead to learning problems later on in school.
For example, a Swedish study found that children with a history of reading problems at school entry scores significantly below average on reading in grade 4. As well, children that shows very low interest in books and story reading before age 5 also scored similarly low on sentence reading in grade 4. 
This is just one of many studies which have similar findings, and this makes it an imperative for parents to begin exposing their children to books and reading at an early age.
HOW EARLY CAN I TEACH my child to read?
So how early?
There's no set guideline on when you should start teaching your children to read; however, you can start cultivating your child's love for books and reading as soon as they're born.
Obviously, very young babies would not even know what books are, however, talking to your child and reading to your child will help them develop a keen liking for books and stories. As your child grows and gets older, avoid TV-sitting them, because as they develop a dependency on television as their main source of entertainment, it becomes very difficult to dislodge that need for TV entertainment, and get them to enjoy reading books.
Instead, keep age appropriate books all around the house, and read to them often. You'll find that they'll start picking up books and pretend to read themselves, although at very early ages, they still cannot read.
Typically, parents will take the time to read for their children; however, many parents do not put much emphasis or thought on whether their children understands what they've just been read to. Instead, occasionally, make an effort to question your child on what you've just read. For example, you read to your child:
"Jack and Jill went up the hill..."
You pause briefly and ask your child:
"So where did Jack and Jill go?" Or alternatively, "Who went up the hill?"
Young children may not catch on right away initially, and it may take a little practice, but they'll eventually catch on and begin to develop a deeper understanding of what they are reading.
This is a very important step in helping your child develop reading comprehension. Of course, don't do this every single time you read, or your child will quickly get bored and lose interest. Do it at random times, and do not over do it.
1. NAEP 1998 Reading Report Card for the Nation and the States
Authors: Patricia L. Donahue, Kristin E. Voelkl, Jay R. Campbell, and John Mazzeo
2. J Learn Disabil. 1999 Sep-Oct;32(5):464-72.
Early language development and kindergarten phonological awareness as predictors of reading problems: from 3 to 11 years of age.
Olofsson A, Niedersøe J.
Department of Psychology, Umeå University, Sweden.
Child-Loving Reading Lamp
Whilst there are many night lights on the market the one which we can recommend and suggest which meets the guidelines above is the Baby Mood Lamp. The reasons for this recommendation are as follows:
-Ability to produce Red Light – This lamp not produces Red Light but it also produces 6 other colorful lights that can be used during other times during the day.
-Ability to vary the levels of brightness – 3 levels of brightness are possible with this lamp thus enabling you to just the lighting to suit your needs.
-Ability to stream audio books – A Bluetooth speaker located on the top of the lamp enables audio books to be streamed from Bluetooth enabled devices such as your mobile phone or laptop thus enabling your child to listen to audio books whilst relaxing in bed.
This night light can also be used to stream some of your favourite music if you so wish thus allowing adults to enjoy the night lamp as well. If you have your hands with a babe-in-arms then this night light will serve as a hands free speaker for your phone as well! Bonus!
-Portable and super light in weight (approx. 1lb) in weight and using a detachable USB cable to charge the light in under 4 hours means that this light is very portable and can be carried easily with one hand to anywhere in the house.
So portable is this night light that you can pack it in your suitcase and use on your holidays!
-Easy to use – Incredibly easy to use the lamp has only one button which can be used by one finger to switch on/off/enable Bluetooth mode (press 2 times in quick succession) and then the touch sensitive speaker located on the top of the night light can be tapped to change from white light to red light (hold finger on top of light for 2 seconds) and vice-versa.
- Durable - Given our darling children love to play with anything they can get their hands on, the material of this lamp is made of ABS material which is not only harmless but extremely strong to withstand any knocks it may receive at the hands of our darlings.
We hope you have found this article of use to you and that the night light we recommend is of not only joy but also reduces the stress that easily can be found during the night times for your child.
About Baby Mood Lamp
Most parents understand the importance of having a lamp that provides an ambience during the night for their baby. Being able to light up your child's room is the perfect way to provide an ambience when darkness falls through the various lighting modes or simply streaming calm music via the lamps bluetooth speaker.
Parents can also enjoy this lamp as it has three levels of lighting intensity which allows low level lighting for relaxation or brightest lighting for reading. Additionally, the lamp has the ability to play music via the lamp's bluetooth speaker.
Simple in functionality and easy to carry, this lamp is an absolute joy to use whether at home or on holiday (and yes we have packed it into our suitcase for us to enjoy on holiday).
Our sole purpose is to provide multi-functional lighting that can be enjoyed by all the family.