Thursday, June 26, 2014

How to read to babies without feeling ridiculous

US paediatricians are urging parents to read to children from their earliest days, which is not easy with the youngest babies

Wednesday 25 June 2014   

Baby reading
A little ambitious? Baby boy with a book. Photograph: Leah Warkentin/Getty

New guidelines from the American Academy of Paediatrics state that parents should be reading to their children from infancy. For the first time, the organisation is going to promote "early literacy – beginning from an infant's very first days – as an 'essential' component of primary care visits".

"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.)


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