A recent article in the WSJ http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323316804578163213067015532.html reported that children do not have adequate vocabularies, which impacts their ability to learn to read.
While vocabulary is the foundation for acquiring strong literacy skills I do not agree with the article’s recommendation that parents need to be involved in teaching reading. Talking develops a child’s use and understanding of language, which is the basis of reading. It is not simply the number of words, but also how they are used that is important. Vocabulary development by age 3 has been found to predict reading success.
Reading aloud help children get ready to learn to read. However, many of the benefits of the read aloud are lost without the habit of talking to children about the story. Being read to does not automatically lead to literacy. The real link lies in the verbal interaction that takes place alongside the read aloud. There is no need for parents to teach children how to read—their job is to talk to their children which will give them the vocabulary they need to build strong literacy skills.