Groundbeaking News… or maybe not!

24 Jun

There is an article in The New York Times today titled “Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth.”  The American Academy of Pediatrics is officially weighing in about the importance of early literacy, announcing a new policy today that will encourage doctors to offer advice and become powerful advocates about the importance of reading aloud every day from birth.  For children’s librarians – this is not new information, we have been educating parents about the importance of reading aloud for years, but I am so excited that this new policy will be put in place.  As the article states, research has shown that children in lower income households do not hear as many spoken words at home, are not read to as often, and do not have access to books a home.  This creates a huge impact on children as early as 18 months and can be seen drastically as children reach school age.

Our library, with the help of a Target grant, has created a program where we reach out to local pediatrician’s offices to provide infants and their caregivers with a board book and a small card filled with information about the programs and resources available at the library for families with young children.  So many times parents come in with their 2 year old saying, “This is so-and-so’s first time at the library!”  And I’m so glad they’ve come in, but they could have been coming into the library for the past 2 whole years.  Brain development is crucial in the first three years of life – which means reading aloud every day should not just be advised, but strongly encouraged.

I’m excited to see how this new policy affects young children and their families and I hope more libraries will be able to outreach into the community to partner with pediatricians about early literacy advocacy.

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