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To 'Immunize' Kids Against Illiteracy, Break Out A Book In Infancy



It’s ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I’m Audie Cornish. Read to your children. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard that advice. But now parents with infants will start hearing it officially from pediatricians starting from birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics announced new guidance today for parents to quote, “immunize their children against illiteracy.”

To find out more, I spoke with Susan Neuman, Professor of Early Childhood and Literacy Education at New York University. She says, this all might sound obvious but researchers have found there’s even more to it.

SUSAN NEUMAN: We’ve always known that it’s important to read to your children very early on, but we’ve never realized how important it is, very early on, that children’s early literacy lessons are so critically important for their literacy development.

CORNISH: In what way? What’s the benefit of reading aloud to kids just starting after birth?

NEUMAN: Well, one of the things we’ve learned is that their vocabulary development spurts. So we noticed the difference between children who have been read to starting at six months and later on in terms of their word production eventually. So they are able to read and understand more words in the long-term, they say words earlier in the short term, and they actually know what a book looks like, and that’s very important for their development.

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