Reading aloud helps children acquire early language
- Reading aloud is widely recognized as the single most important
activity leading to literacy acquisition. Among other things,
reading aloud builds word-sound awareness in children, a potent
predictor of reading success.
- "Children who fall seriously behind in the growth of critical
early reading skills have fewer opportunities to practice reading.
Evidence suggests that these lost practice opportunities make it
extremely difficult for children who remain poor readers during the
first three years of elementary school to ever acquire average
levels of reading fluency." Torgeson, J. Avoiding the
Devasting Downward Spiral, American Educator. (2004)
- Reading aloud to young children is not only one of the best
activities to stimulate language and cognitive skills; it also
builds motivation, curiosity, and memory. Bardige, B. Talk to
Me, Baby!(2009), Paul H Brookes Pub Co.
- Reading aloud stimulates language development even before a
child can talk. Bardige, B. Talk to Me, Baby!(2009), Paul H
Brookes Pub Co.
- Research shows that the more words parents use when speaking to
an 8-month-old infant, the greater the size of their child's
vocabulary at age 3. The landmark Hart-Risley study on language
development documented that children from low-income families hear
as many as 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers
before the age of 4. Hart, B. Risley, T. Meaningful
Differences in the Everyday Experiences of Young American Children
(1995), Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Reading aloud helps children develop positive associations with
books and reading.
- The nurturing and one-on-one attention from parents during
reading aloud encourages children to form a positive association
with books and reading later in life.
- Reading aloud is a proven technique to help children cope
during times of stress or tragedy.
Reading aloud helps children build a stronger foundation for
- "What happens during the first months and years of life
matters, a lot, not because this period of development provides an
indelible blueprint for adult well-being, but because it sets
either a sturdy or fragile stage for what follows." J.S.
Shonkoff & D. Phillips, Eds., From Neurons to Neighborhoods:
The Science of Early Childhood Development (2000), Washington D.C.;
National Research Council & The Institute of Medicine, National
- Once children start school, difficulty with reading contributes
to school failure, which can increase the risk of absenteeism,
leaving school, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, and teenage
pregnancy - all of which can perpetuate the cycles of poverty and
- Reading aloud in the early years exposes children to story and
print knowledge as well as rare words and ideas not often found in
day-to-day conversations or screen time.
- Reading aloud gives children the opportunity to practice
listening - a crucial skill for kindergarten and beyond.
In 2008, some of Reach Out and Read's Medical Champions
published an article in the Archives of Disease in Childhood that
provides an overview of key research on reading aloud to young
children, and its influence on children's language and literacy
development. Read the article - called "Reading aloud to
children: the evidence" here.