US paediatricians are urging parents to read to children from their earliest days, which is not easy with the youngest babies
"Fewer than half of children younger than five years old are read to daily in the US", says the AAP, and "researchers have found that by age four, children in poverty hear 30m fewer words than their higher-income peers. These dramatic gaps result in significant learning disadvantages that persist into adulthood."
I have two children, and I have cringed, in the past, at the image of myself reading Orlando the (irritating) Marmalade Cat to a weeks-old scrap. (I was a new mum, I thought it was my job to fill every moment of this small creature's life with stimulation, I didn't realise she'd have been just as happy listening to me chat to a friend.)