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Developing Young Readers

Too Small to Fail
By Too Small to Fail

How to develop a young reader

Have you ever noticed how some children (and adults!) can get so absorbed in a book that the rest of the world seems to disappear around them? A love for reading can be both fun and educational, and it can start early in a child’s life.

According to the National Institute for Literacy, one out of every five children in the United States will experience a reading or writing problem in school. But children who are read to on a regular basis from infancy are better prepared to learn in school and beyond. In fact, the more words that an adult speaks, reads or sings to a child from birth the better the child’s grasp of language.

Parents and caregivers can help create a love for reading in their children by reading a wide variety of books, stories and other materials with their children every day. For parents who find reading books difficult, there are many other opportunities to help build a child’s reading and vocabulary skills. Reading signs out loud while walking through the grocery store, pointing out words on bus ads, or even flipping through a book and talking about the pictures can also help build a child’s understanding of reading. And singing, rhyming and conversation are great ways to stimulate babies’ brains and expand their grasp of language.

Research also shows that when parents or caregivers use “big” words with their children—even if the child seems too young to understand—they are helping their children learn how to communicate more effectively.

Resources for Sharing:

  • These articles from PBS Parents offer tips for how to incorporate reading into other daily activities, like riding in the car or taking a bath.
  • Additional fun ways for parents and caregivers to build their children’s literacy skills from Get Ready to Read.
  • This article from the American Academy of Pediatrics explains why vocabulary is important to early brain development.
  • This op-ed by Cindy McCain and Roberto Llamas explains the word gap and how parents and caregivers can help close it.

VIDEO: Check out this video produced by the staff of Next Generation and Too Small to Fail about favorite children’s books—we dare you not to get a little teary! >>

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