Reading to newborns is mostly likely not at the top of the list of things to do for new parents. Behind sleep, feed, clean, feed, sleep, eat, the priority for new parents is often survival, and that’s understandable. Though an all too common belief is also, ‘why read to infants? They can’t understand, what will they gain from it?’
Turns out, quite a bit.
Just this week the American Academy of Pediatrics released a brand new study in which they recommend pediatricians encourage parents to ‘read to their children aloud and talk about pictures and words in age-appropriate books,’ starting in infancy.
“Children who are read to during infancy and preschool years have better language skills when they start school and are more interested in reading, according to research.”
“Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.”
Making this policy shift has serious and tangible effects on the future of children and their reading development. The study goes on to highlight the reading ability of children once they reach the third grade as a significant indicator of their success in educational and career endeavors.
“Reading proficiency by third grade is the most significant predictor of high school graduation and career success, yet two-thirds of U.S. third-graders lack competent reading skills.”
Many reading organizations across the country immediately praised the shift, saying education begins from the very beginning and reading from an early age will only help to boost opportunities for children as they grow.
“We’re thrilled to see the national attention on the importance of reading aloud to children this week. Reading is the key to success, and these incredible partners are helping ensure kids are prepared for success in school and life – and that starts with reading,” said Chris Otis Executive Director of SMART (Start Making A Reader Today).
Reading with your infant not only helps brain stimulation but can also provide a wonderful bond and connection between you and baby. While they may not understand the words or the pictures, they (and you) can feel the comfort of a soothing bedtime story and building a strong foundation for their future.
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