The ability to read is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give to your child.I was blessed with 2 children that love to read. Is this something they were born with or was it because we made books available to them and made reading a fun and rewarding experience for them when they were very young? I don't know what the exact answer to that is but I do know that it is not only something they both enjoy but it has also helped them tremendously in life as well and they rarely go anywhere without taking along something to read.
Both my daughter and my son started reading early and both read well above their age levels. My daughter has been reading on a college level since she was in sixth grade and my son was reading on a fifth grade level in first grade. Both of them get excellent grades, have amazing vocabularies, spelling comes naturally to them and they have very good social skills that allow them to join in conversations with all age groups.
Teaching children to read early gives them a solid foundation of which to build their lives on. It empowers them, allows them a place to escape, teaches them new things and ideas and develops important skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. They learn that different people have different opinions and some questions can not be answered with a simple yes or no answer. When you teach children the joy of reading early, it is not a struggle to get them to do it when they are in school and it is a requirement. They also get though their homework much faster and retain more information than they would without those skills.
It does not matter what it is that children are reading, it can be comic books or even manuals to video games the important thing is that they are reading something.
Update On Mar 25, 2010: My son works on a reading program at school called Sucess Maker which is leveled for each individual child. The area he has been working in the most is called Readers Workshop and it is leveled for 3.0-5.0. Today we found out that he has topped out on what he can do in there and is moving up to the next level which means he is a second grader who is reading on a 5th grade level or above. This just proves to me even more how important it is to start your children reading early and to make it a fun and rewarding experience for them.
Update On May 02, 2010: I got a note from my sons teacher telling us that he now reads 188 WPM and the goal for his grade is 90. In addition, his Rigby level is 30 with the goal being 23 and he has moved up 2 1/2 years in reading levels this year. Let me tell you what a thrill it is to get this kind of information on how well your child is doing and I attribute this to him learning to read early and enjoying it.