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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

The doctor knows best

June 24, 2014

It’s a cliché, I know, but it really does take a village to raise a child. And that village benefits all around from children who read.

Pediatricians have recognized the power of reading to young children from a very young age and are releasing a policy statement emphasizing it. They’re actively encouraging parents of all backgrounds to read aloud to their young children — and that it’s really never too early to start.

Through the Reach Out and Read program, pediatricians have been assessing young children’s intellectual and physical development as a result of exposure to books for some time. Now they’re actively advising parents to begin reading aloud early and often. It seems, however, that parents haven’t quite gotten the message yet.

A recently released survey done by Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) found that less than one-quarter of parents (17%) thought reading was a top summer priority. Additionally, the majority (60%) of those same parents didn’t think that their children lost reading skills during the summer. Unfortunately, that belief is contrary to what research has found time and time again.

To use yet another cliché, if you don’t use it — in this case a child’s reading skills — you lose it.

Summer can slow things down. And it’s a great time to take time to share books. Some of my favorites are celebrating golden anniversaries. They range from Wild Things to a bespectacled spy.

Whether old or new, physical or digital, the fun is in the story and in its sharing. I sincerely hope parents recognize this and snuggle up with something to read with their children.

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables