Pediatricians Should Encourage Parents to Read Aloud

Various options should be used to support and promote reading aloud with young children

FRIDAY, June 27, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Pediatricians should encourage parents to read regularly with young children to promote literacy, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement published online June 23 in Pediatrics.

Noting that reading regularly with children can build language, literacy, and social-emotional skills, Pamela C. High, M.D., from the AAP Council on Early Childhood, and colleagues discuss the role of the pediatrician in literacy promotion.

The researchers recommend that pediatric providers make efforts to promote early literacy development beginning in infancy and continuing at least until the age of kindergarten entry. They should advise all parents that reading aloud with children can enhance parent-child relationships and prepare children for learning language and early literacy skills. All parents should be counseled about developmentally appropriate shared-reading activities that offer exposure to books, pictures, and writing, and are enjoyable. All high-risk, low-income young children should be given developmentally appropriate books at health supervision visits. A robust spectrum of options should be used to support and promote these efforts, including posters and parent information materials that are culturally competent. Finally, pediatricians should work together with other child advocates to influence national messaging and policies that support early shared-reading experiences.

"The AAP supports federal and state funding for children's books to be provided at pediatric health supervision visits to children at high risk living at or near the poverty threshold and the integration of literacy promotion, an essential component of pediatric primary care, into pediatric resident education," the authors write.

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