Early literacy has become a popular topic this week as the American Academy of Pediatrics issued its first-ever policy statement focused on literacy promotion. The policy calls for pediatricians to advise all parents about the many benefits of reading aloud, which promotes literacy and motor skills.
The new statement, aimed at 62,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics’, urges pediatricians to talk to parents about how critical reading aloud is for children’s brain development and literacy skills, and to provide books during visits for all low-income, high-risk children.
Reach Out and Read Kansas City is extremely excited to see how this new policy affects children’s development and enhances their lives. For 25 years, Reach Out and Read has trained doctors and nurse practitioners to give books and early literacy advice at well-child visits, and now that it is becoming an official policy for all pediatricians to follow, even more parents will understand the importance of reading to their children every day.
Studies have shown that every year, more than one in three children enter kindergarten without the language skills required to learn how to read. In low-income families, children hear very few words by the time they are three. Reach Out and Read works to solve this problem every day and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ new policy is another step in the right direction.
Now, there is nowhere to go but up as we continue to fight for children’s literacy and hope to witness even more children enter school ready to read and succeed.