'Parents should read to their child every day from birth': Story time routines help boost vocabulary and school grades
18:10, Tuesday, 05 July, 2016
Reading to children has such a huge impact on their academic success that parents should do it from birth, experts say. Story time routines benefit even the youngest children, helping them to build vocabulary and communication skills critical to later success in school, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said this week in a new policy statement. Experts say reading or storytelling in early life predicts how well children will do when they enter preschool This, in turn, translates to how they do when they start kindergarten, associated with achievement later in school and in life. For babies, literacy can begin with cuddle time and brightly-coloured books, new guidance from the organisation advised. Rhyming, playing, talking and singing are among the age-appropriate activities promoting early literacy. 'You're not teaching a two-month-old how to read,' said Dr Danette Glassy, a pediatrician near Seattle, Washington, who co-chairs the AAP's Council on Early Childhood. 'Sitting down with them makes your baby smart and wise.' Yet the 2011–2012 National Survey of Children's Health found that only one-third of children in the U.S. were read to daily from birth to the age of five. By comparison, 60 per cent of children from higher-income families received daily reading time. Dr Glassy continued: 'Even the most affluent family can be distracted from interacting with their baby. 'They can entertain their babies with all kinds of gadgets and gizmos that interfere with their development.' In previous recommendations, the AAP has discouraged parents from exposing children under the age of two years, which can be detrimental to language development. Earlier this month, researchers at Hollins University in the U.S. warned that background noise from the TV can adversely affect toddlers’ language development. They say it has long been known children develop their language skills from listening to their parents - and parents speak to their children less when the TV is on. The quantity of words and phrases, as well as the number of new words spoken by the parents, was lower than when the TV was off.