Approximately 66% of 4th graders in North Carolina do not read at the appropriate level for their grade.
This is one of the many stunning statistics I learned while representing Pirate Pediatrics at the Reach out and Read Literacy Summit held in Greenville this month. It is never too early to begin reading to your baby. Reading aloud is such an important activity with many benefits. You can read a colorful age appropriate book or you can read your morning newspaper to your child. The more words your baby hears in the first few years of life will set him/her up for greater success in school. Not only does reading aloud help increase vocabulary, it promotes listening skills, curiosity, motivation, and serves as a proven technique for coping with stress.
At Pirate Pediatrics, our staff takes great pride in this program. I, for one, enjoy choosing a book from our selection for each child that I believe they will love. The children enjoy the books in many ways, whether it will involve using the book as a teething toy, looking at the pictures upside down, or actually reading the story itself with their parent(s).
The program extends further than providing books to our patients. Promoting early literacy is one of our passions. Beyond providing excellent physical care to our patients, promoting literacy is one of our goals. We firmly believe taking to time to read to your child, whatever their age, is imperative to brain development and expanding a child’s vocabulary from a young age – even if ‘eating’ the book is the extent of a baby’s participation!
An extended knowledge of words allows children to more easily express their feelings. We love seeing faces of pure joy when our patients receive a new book to take home. Our hope is this small, yet important, part of the well child visit will serve to help prepare children for school and bring families closer together through reading!
Want to find out more? www.reachoutandread.org
Written by Anna Stephenson