Babies are remarkable beings. Long before they begin school, infants and toddlers are learning at lightning speed.
From birth to age 5, babies brains will make trillions of connections between billions of neurons. Brain size doubles during the first year, and by age 3, a child’s brain has nearly reached its adult weight. Children build vocabulary, learn new concepts, gain pre-literacy skills and form the foundation for all future knowledge and learning.
But just how much babies learn before they begin school depends in large part on their parents and early caregivers. Nobody is in a better position to teach, nurture, talk, sing, or read aloud to young children than they are. Yet, many don’t realize how powerful a simple family/day care ritual – like reading aloud 15 minutes per day – can mean to the academic and emotional success of children.
According to Read Aloud 15 Minutes, a non-profit organization working to make reading aloud every day for at least 15 minutes the new standard in child care:
- More than one in three children arrive at Kindergarten without the skills necessary for lifetime learning
- More than 15% of young children are read to by family members fewer than three times a week.
- Only 48% of children in the U.S. are read to everyday.
“We strongly believe if parents understood how important their role is as first teacher, and the difference that reading aloud for 15 minutes every day from birth can make, they would absolutely do it,” says Read Aloud 15 Minutes Co-Founder and Executive Director, Bob Robbins. “When parents understand that talking, playing, singing and reading aloud are not enhancements, but are instead requirements, for their child’s development, we will see huge leaps in children’s readiness for school and life.”
March is Read Aloud 15 Minutes Month. Is your early childhood or parenting program encouraging reading aloud everyday to infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers? We encourage you to jump on the Read Aloud bandwagon. You can download some helpful posters and handouts here.