Curriculum

Reading to Toddlers Could Boost Literacy

By Linda Jacobson — July 25, 2006 1 min read

Reading to young children is a well-documented way to contribute to their cognitive growth and language skills during the preschool years.

But new research shows that reading to babies and toddlers yields promising results even before they’re old enough for preschool.

Researchers from five universities and from Mathematica Policy Research Inc., in Princeton, N.J., found that when English-speaking mothers in low-income households read to their very young children, the youngsters had greater language comprehension, larger vocabularies, and higher cognitive scores before the age of 2, compared with toddlers who were not read to very often.

Among Hispanic mothers who read to their children in Spanish every day, the children had greater language and cognitive development by the age of 3 than those who were not read to frequently.

The study appears in the July-August issue of the journal Child Development, and focuses on 2,581 families in the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project and a control group. A subgroup of 1,101 families was examined to study the relationship between reading and child outcomes in English-speaking and Spanish-speaking families.

Non-Hispanic white mothers reported reading more often to their children than those in other racial or ethnic groups. Mothers of first-born children, girls, and those in the Early Head Start program also reported more reading.

The researchers detected a “snowball model,” in which early reading by parents increased children’s vocabulary which then led to more reading to the children.

“This study shows relations between reading to children and children’s language and cognitive development begin very early and implies that parent-child bookreading and other language-oriented interventions for vulnerable children should begin much earlier than has generally been proposed,” writes Helen Raikes, the lead author of the article and a professor of family and consumer sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The researchers also recommend increasing access to picture books for non-English-speaking families.

Researchers from Columbia, Harvard, Iowa State, and New York universities participated in the study.

A version of this article appeared in the July 26, 2006 edition of Education Week

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Safe Return to Schools is Possible with Testing
We are edging closer to a nationwide return to in-person learning in the fall. However, vaccinations alone will not get us through this. Young children not being able to vaccinate, the spread of new and
Content provided by BD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
Meeting the Moment: Accelerating Equitable Recovery and Transformative Change
Educators are deciding how best to re-establish routines such as everyday attendance, rebuild the relationships for resilient school communities, and center teaching and learning to consciously prioritize protecting the health and overall well-being of students
Content provided by Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Addressing Learning Loss: What Schools Need to Accelerate Reading Instruction in K-3
When K-3 students return to classrooms this fall, there will be huge gaps in foundational reading skills. Does your school or district need a plan to address learning loss and accelerate student growth? In this
Content provided by PDX Reading

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Whitepaper
The Digital Transformation in Elementary Education
This white paper reports on the impact of this digital transformation, highlighting the resources educators are most likely to use, their...
Content provided by Capstone
Curriculum School Halts Use of Fictional Book in Which Officer Kills a Black Child
Fifth graders in at least one Broward County school were assigned to read a book that critics say casts police officers as racist liars.
Rafael Olmeda, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
5 min read
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Broward County School Board member Lori Alhadeff listens during a meeting of the Broward County School Board in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Alhadeff told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that she does not feel like the book "Ghost Boys" is appropriate for 5th graders.
Lynne Sladky/AP
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Whitepaper
Empowering Teachers for Student Success
In this white paper, we highlight 6 best practices for using educational databases and highlight how teachers are effectively using these...
Content provided by Gale
Curriculum Opinion Introducing Primary Sources to Students
Five educators share strategies for introducing primary sources to students, including English-language learners.
12 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty