New Research: Early Literacy Leaves Lasting Impact

From bedtime stories with parents to read-aloud time with teachers, our culture places a heavy emphasis on book reading in childhood, particularly for infants and toddlers. And rightly so. This new article from The Huffington Post (“The Scientific Case for Reading To Your 6-Month-Old”) showcases compelling research presented at the 2017 Pediatric American Societies Meeting that links early literacy and long-term success. When young children — regardless of socioeconomic status —experience and engage in regular high-quality reading experiences, they are better prepared for school and long-term academic achievement.

The reason? Reading together creates a rich interactive experience in which the adult can help shape and lay the groundwork for the child’s cognitive and social-emotional development. According to parenting resources from Zero to Three:

“Early literacy skills are essential to literacy development and should be the focus of early language and literacy programs. By focusing on the importance of the first years of life, we give new meaning to the interactions young children have with books and stories. Looking at early literacy development as a dynamic developmental process, we can see the connection (and meaning) between an infant mouthing a book, the book handling behavior of a 2-year-old, and the page turning of a 5-year-old. We can see that the first three years of exploring and playing with books, singing nursery rhymes, listening to stories, recognizing words, and scribbling are truly the building blocks for language and literacy development.”

What We Know About Early Literacy and Language Development

These findings only further support the Bainum Family Foundation’s strategic focus on reaching children with vital supports and high-quality early learning opportunities within their first 1,000 days of life. To learn more about this critical window of time in a child’s development, read this blog post highlighting neuroscience research from the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington in Seattle.