The Importance of Early Literacy

UHWX5CABZ2RW0CAKZ12DRCA41ZSAKCA5QAQ0GCA74MGYNCAK2T174CAO203B2CAIU6Q8ICALIMS6RCAIIQ2LSCA36MMYDCAQBBA7ECABAAVIVCAE6C7ELCA6CSKVICA1KL64VCACJMYJMCA3GV6TFThese statistics were taken, in part, from official Reach Out and Read literature. According to their research, children who live in print-rich environments and who are read to during the first years of life are more likely to learn to read on schedule.

  • 16% of parents of children age three years and younger do not read at all with their children, and 23% do so only once or twice a week.*
  • Percentages are even lower among low-income families, whose children face the highest risk of literacy problems. Reading difficulty contributes to school failure, which increases the risk of absenteeism, leaving school, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancy — all of which perpetuate the cycles of poverty and dependency.
  • Families living in poverty often lack the money to buy new books, as well as access to libraries. Parents who may not have been read to as children themselves may not realize the tremendous value of reading to their own children.
  • Educators and developmental psychologists have long considered reading aloud to children important in helping those children develop early literacy skills.

*Young, KT, Davis K, Schoen C, et al: Listening to parents. A national survey of parents with young children. Arch. Pediatr Adolesc Med 1998;152:255

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