Monthly Archives: July 2014

Group recommends reading aloud to kids from birth

The New York Times reports that in a policy announcement, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that physicians tell “parents to read aloud to their infants from birth.”

The AAP “is asking its members to become powerful advocates for reading aloud, every time a baby visits the doctor.”

The pediatricians’ group “hopes that by encouraging parents to read often and early, they may help reduce academic disparities between wealthier and low-income children as well as between racial groups.”

The AP reports that reading aloud “can enhance child development and prepare young minds for early language and reading ability.”

Reading, as well as talking and singing, is viewed as important in increasing the number of words that children hear in the earliest years of their lives. Nearly two decades ago, an oft-cited study found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than have those of less educated, low-income parents, giving the children who have heard more words a distinct advantage in school. New research shows that these gaps emerge as early as 18 months.

With parents of all income levels increasingly handing smartphones and tablets to babies, who learn how to swipe before they can turn a page, reading aloud may be fading into the background.