Kids & Language: Small Investment in Reading = Big Impact in Learning

Reading matters. Really.mother reading to baby to help with language skills

More of your FAQS on children and reading.

How do parents think children learn language?

Parents underestimate the value of talk-time and reading time with their children. And other parents go overboard and spend time and money on learning programs that really aren’t necessary.

Experts recommend the 3 T’s…

  1. Tune In (listen to your child)
  2. Talk More
  3. Take Turns Talking (sitting down with a book is a good way to start those conversations)

What are the long-term affects on children with poor language skills?

Children who start out ahead, stay ahead. And children who are not reading well by 3rd grade are three times more likely to drop out of school, have higher rates of unemployment, substance abuse, and criminal records. Truthfully, this impacts our society and our economy.

We are too late to the party by putting money into public schools. And only a small percentage of children who qualify for HeadStart and other pre-K initiatives actually receive services by these programs.

We need to look and invest in initiatives that begin earlier in life.

What can parents do?

For our own kids, we should be good role models. Limit your own screen time. Show your kids that you value reading. Take your kids to the library on a regular basis. Or go to the bookstore and buy your child a book as a special treat.

If you have young children, have a reading ritual. Carve out 30 minutes a day to read to them. If you have older children, have a family book club. Read the same books and talk about them.

Making a small investment in our youngest kids can make a big difference.

Ari Brown, MD

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