Every time you encourage your child to say "please" or "thank you," you might also be giving his or her reading a boost. The Stanford University School of Education recently released a study linking social graces and reading success. While the results are speculative, I think we all agree that it is important to educate the whole child by addressing intellectual, social, emotional, and physical needs.
From my experience as a primary teacher, I observed that children who were careful of the feelings of others also seemed to be more attentive and focused when it came to their school work. My students' favorite place was our classroom "talking table," which was set with seasonal dishes and decorations. The kids practiced their manners and conversational skills there.
The first recipient of the Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award, Linda Alston, seems to agree: "Grace and courtesy are just as important and everything in Alston's Fairview Elementary School class in Denver — the plants, the china teacups, the pitcher and bowl used to wash tiny hands — has been placed there to foster those lessons" (USA Today).
Try reading books about manners with your child. It certainly can't hurt to multitask and to learn about good manners while you and your child are reading together.
Thank you for reading this!