Educators, researchers and parents have long understood the importance of reading aloud to young children -- both to instill in them the importance of books and reading, but also to help stimulate brain development, vocabulary acquisition and the knowledge that comes from reading about the world.
Research dating back decades (See Hart & Risley) shows the stunning word gap between young children from low-income families and those from wealthier households. These vocabulary gaps start to open at a very early age, and they tend persist as children grow older, and become predictors of later success in school and beyond.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is taking a big step forward today by issuing a policy statement that promotes early literacy—beginning from an infant's very first days—as an essential component of primary care visits. Here's coverage from The New York Times this morning.
Today, at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America meeting in Denver, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced a new collaborative effort of Too Small to Fail, AAP, Scholastic and Reach Out and Read to raise awareness among parents about early language development.
At Scholastic, we're excited to be making a 500,000-book donation to Reach Out and Read to jump start this initiative -- books that this wonderful organization will use to distribute to children in pediatric exam rooms nationwide.
This is an issue we care deeply about here at Scholastic; we've always advocated that parents begin reading to children at birth. The more children are exposed to books and rich language, the better off they’ll be!
Parents: When did you start reading to your kids?