The American Pediatric Association issued their first official statement on literacy promotion this year providing strong evidence for reading’s importance. The organization stressed the need for parents to read to their children beginning in infancy. The announcement also outlined concrete steps to use pediatric visits to encourage reading.
The statement discussed the many benefits of reading and the current status of child literacy. Reading proficiency by third grade is the best predictor of high school graduation and career success according to statistics cited by the APA. Unfortunately, they also reported that more than a third of children enter kindergarten without the language skills needed for learning to read.
Reading to children would be expected to dramatically improve this situation. Story time stimulates early brain development, improves relationships between parents and children, and contributes to lifelong social and emotional skills, as well as literacy.
The APA is also committing itself to taking action. They’re going to make books part of preventive visits to observe and model reading practices. They’ll be hanging up posters, distributing information and engaging in advocacy and research. There will also be efforts to provide books to low income families.
If you’re wondering how to get the most out of reading with your own children, these are some points to keep in mind. Start early. Science is learning more and more about the significance of brain development in the first 3 years of life. Begin reading to your children even before they start to talk. They’ll become more interested in books while you all enjoy looking at the pictures and playing with sounds.
It also helps to make reading a daily habit. Turn story time into a ritual with its own special place and hour. Bedtime works well for many families. Of course, small children have a limited attention span so keep it brief at first and gradually extend the time as your children become ready for more.
Of course, one of the best ways to get your children hooked on reading is to be a good role model. Contact us to learn more about increasing your reading speed, comprehension and brain power.