Reading Readiness: It’s Never Too Early (or Late) to Start


Brought to you by Nemours Brightstart!

Most of us don’t give much thought to our child’s reading skills until she’s preparing to enter kindergarten or VPK. Let’s be realistic: in those first few years of a child’s life, it can be tough enough to keep them fed, clothed and reasonably clean. It’s practically a miracle if you have time (and energy) to read them a few books at the end of the day – much less prepare them for lessons they may not be facing for years to come.

The surprising (and important) thing, though, is that reading readiness in children begins from the very moment they’re born. Even in those first blurry, sleep-deprived weeks, your child’s brain is rapidly developing and is designed to start learning.

That’s one of the reasons Nemours Children’s Health Systems developed – to give parents the easy-to-use tools they need to help their kids’ minds flourish.

Here’s why starting early is so important:

  • Your child will learn the basic skills of reading from watching you read, like how to hold a book or turn a page
  • She will learn how your voice changes as you read in different tones and rhythms
  • When you touch the words on the page or talk about the pictures, she learns that pictures are different than printed words
  • When you read words that rhyme or comment on alphabet letters to your child, he learns to pay attention to details in speech and in print.
  • Reading together teaches children about the world around them, and the words we use to describe it

Most important, reading to your very young child helps her associate books and reading with pleasant, comforting experiences. And kids who are exposed to reading in a positive way may have a better chance of growing into literate, successful and healthy adults.

That’s because:

  • Reading is the foundation for educational achievement.
  • Reading skills and education levels help determine job and income
  • Job and income help determine access to affordable, high-quality health care and healthier neighborhoods
  • When you have confidence that you are smart and can read, you ask more questions and seek out information about your health and the health needs of your family

The good news is, preparing your child for reading doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. Reading readiness and early language development come from the little things you do with your child on a daily basis. In fact, you’re probably already doing lots of things that help promote reading skills, without even knowing it. Like reading a few books before bed, singing together – even involving your child in household and outdoor chores. As long as you’re having fun, there’s really no wrong way to introduce your child to books and reading.

It’s an easy (and enjoyable) investment to make, and one that will certainly pay off for you and your child.

Thank you to Nemours Reading BrightStart! for sponsoring this post. Nemours Reading BrightStart! Awareness Campaign is supported by a grant from The Chartrand Family Fund at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida.


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