The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), has released an official policy statement recommending its members encourage parents to read to their children from infancy. This is a true validation of the work of Reach Out and Read pediatricians, who make literacy promotion a part of their practice every day.
Why reading?  Isn’t talking what matters? 

  • Books expose children to different words and ideas than day-to-day conversation.  Reach Out and Read encourages parents to ask questions and engage children in conversation about the book as they read, in order to increase language exposure and build vocabulary.

Aren’t babies too young for books? 

  • The Reach Out and Read model teaches parents how to tailor reading routines to a child’s age and development.  Plus, reading to babies builds the nurturing relationships that are critical to their development.

What if parents can’t read?

  • Reach Out and Read pediatricians advise parents that there are many ways to share a book together, such as talking about the pictures and making up stories.  When parents are not comfortable with English, pediatricians encourage them to speak, read, and sing with their children in the language that is most comfortable.

Do pediatricians really need to give this advice to parents?

  • Yes!  Many children, especially those from low-income households, are not read to daily and don’t have access to books at home.  As trusted sources of parenting information for families, pediatricians play an essential role in ensuring that all parents make reading a health priority for their youngest children.

Reach Out and Read is also endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians and National Association of Nurse Practitioners.

SOURCE

From the American Academy of Pediatrics: Policy Statement: Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice Council on Pediatrics Pediatrics peds.2014-1384; published ahead of print June 23, 2014, doi:10.1542/peds.2014-1384

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