Skip to content

    Health & Parenting

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Parents Should Read to Kids Daily: Pediatrics Group

    The practice should begin in infancy, American Academy of Pediatrics says, to prepare kids for school, life

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Dennis Thompson

    HealthDay Reporter

    TUESDAY, June 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- All pediatricians should encourage parents to read out loud to their children every day, beginning in infancy, to promote literacy and strengthen family ties.

    That clarion call comes in a new policy statement issued Tuesday by the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Early Childhood.

    The aim of the recommendation is to help parents "immunize their children against illiteracy," said statement author Dr. Pamela High, director of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, R.I., and a professor at Brown University.

    In fact, literacy promotion should be part of residency training for any medical student entering pediatrics, the policy statement added.

    "This is the first time the AAP has called out literacy promotion as being an essential component of primary care pediatric practice," High said. "Fewer than half of children are being read to every day by their families, and that number hasn't really changed since 2003. It's a public health message to parents of all income groups, that this early shared reading is both fun and rewarding."

    The stakes are high. Every year, more than one of every three American children start kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn to read, a disadvantage from which it is hard to recover, High noted.

    Reading proficiency by the third grade turns out to be the most important predictor of whether children will graduate high school and be successful in their careers, she said. About two-thirds of children in the United States and about 80 percent of those below the poverty threshold fail to develop reading proficiency by the end of the third grade.

    The policy statement asks pediatricians to counsel parents about "developmentally appropriate reading activities that are enjoyable for the child and the parents and offer language-rich exposure to books and pictures and the written word."

    The statement will be published in the August print issue of Pediatrics.

    Research has found that children who are read to by their parents have a leg up when it comes to literacy, High said. Reading can provide even infants with spoken words and sounds that form the basis of future language and literacy development.

    Today on WebMD

    Girl holding up card with BMI written
    Is your child at a healthy weight?
    toddler climbing
    What happens in your child’s second year.
     
    father and son with laundry basket
    Get your kids to help around the house.
    boy frowning at brocolli
    Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
     
    mother and daughter talking
    Tool
    child brushing his teeth
    Slideshow
     
    Sipping hot tea
    Slideshow
    Young woman holding lip at dentists office
    Video
     
    Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
    Article
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
     
    tissue box
    Quiz
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow