Marilyn Jager Adams, professor of cognitive and linguistic sciences at Brown University, argues that students need to know close to 100,000 words in order to be critical thinkers and strong readers. It's a daunting number, one that's virtually impossible to reach by studying vocabulary lists alone. Rather, Adams says students need to read more often; that by doing so, they will then be able to tackle increasingly challenging texts as they gain comprehension skills. What does this have to do with early learning? Plenty. If our nation is challenging its students to be more rigorous readers, it stands to reason that our littlest learners need to enter school ready to learn to read, which includes an early introduction to a host of varied vocabulary. The best way to teach those skills is by instilling a love for stories at the youngest age possible, via programs for parents and caregivers that model best reading practices.