Your next visit to your baby’s doctor might include a stronger emphasis on reading, thanks to a just announced policy issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics that focuses on literacy promotion.
The recommendations, which were released Tuesday and are the first of their kind from the group, call for pediatricians to talk to parents about reading aloud to their child daily starting as early as birth and continuing through kindergarten. Doctors should also offer suggestions for shared reading activities that “offer language-rich exposure to books, pictures, and the written word,” and provide parents of low-income, high-risk children with age-appropriate books at doctor’s visits.
The policy notes that every year more than 1 in 3 U.S. children enter kindergarten without necessary early literacy skills, and that reading aloud with children is one of the most effective ways to prepare kids for school. In fact, research has shown that children who were read aloud to at an early age were more likely to have significantly improved language development by age 2 than babies who weren’t.