Read Aloud 15 MINUTES, a nonprofit organization promoting early literacy, has just kicked off a month-long awareness campaign called “Let’s Talk Nourishment” to spread the word about the importance of reading aloud to children from the time they are born.
“We want parents and caregivers to make the connection that babies’ brains are as much in need of food as their bodies,” says Dr. Candace Kendle, founder of Read Aloud 15 MINUTES. “We call it ‘brain food.'” That means exposure to vocabulary, knowledge-building, and rich interactions with loved ones.
What activity checks all of these “nutritional” boxes? Reading aloud.
According to the agency:
• Nationally, 37% of children arrive in kindergarten without the skills necessary to begin their learning journey.
• If a child is not reading at grade level by the end of the first grade, then there is an 88% probability he or she will not be reading at grade level by the end of the fourth grade.
• Even in higher-income households, nearly 40% of families do not read aloud every day.
• More than half the children in this country – 13 million children -will not hear a bedtime story tonight.
“One of the best activities for nourishing a baby’s brain,” Kendle says, “is reading aloud together for at least 15 minutes every day from birth.”