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Importance of Early Literacy

Importance of Early Literacy
Posted on December 26, 2018 by CHS

Literacy is the foundation of academic success and starting early is the key to promoting the critical pre-literacy and early literacy skills that children need to enter school ready to learn and succeed. Nationally, many children are not meeting third and fourth grade reading standards, which are crucial benchmark indicators of continued academic success. These benchmarks are also correlated with the likelihood of graduating from high school. Reading Partners, a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting early literacy and grade school literacy skills, notes that according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only about one-third of our nation’s fourth graders can read proficiently. Reading Partners also notes that children who cannot read proficiently by the fourth grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school on time. Research shows that parent involvement is the number one predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement, and that children who receive appropriate supports for early literacy by second grade are more likely to go on to be proficient readers.

Parents should read to young children every day. The younger your child is when you start reading to them, the better. Reading aloud to and with your baby, toddler, or young child will help them develop their language and literacy skills and will promote a love of reading that will stay with them throughout their life. According to First 5 California, reading aloud is an important way for a parent to help their baby learn vocabulary and to stimulate a baby's brain cells to grow stronger and develop more fully. Reading aloud:

  • Builds a baby's language awareness, listening, and memory skills.
  • Introduces concepts such as stories, letters, colors, and shapes in a fun way.
  • Promotes bonding and closeness - especially because babies are soothed by the sound and rhythm of their parent's voice.
  • Gives babies information about the world around them.
  • Instills a lifelong love of books and learning.

Additional Resources for Parents:

  • The U.S. Department of Education and Health and Human Services created the Talk Read Sing campaign to ensure that all families have access to resources that can help them make the most of critical language building experiences. The Talk Read Sing campaign is tackling a gap in the quantity and quality of words that children learn, which directly impacts their opportunities to succeed in school and later on in life. The U.S. Department of Education Talk Read Sing website has information and tip sheets in English and Spanish for parents, early childhood teachers, and caregivers on promoting early literacy between the ages of 0-5 years: https://www.ed.gov/early-learning/talk-read-sing
  • First 5 California has a number of useful resources and tips for parents to promote the importance of early literacy as part of their Talk Read Sing campaign: http://www.first5california.com/learning-center.aspx?id=11&sub=46
  • The advocacy organization Zero to Three also has a number of parenting resources about early literacy, including short video clips: https://www.zerotothree.org/espanol/early-literacy
  • The national non-profit Reading Partners also includes a number of resources for parents on their website, including printable tip sheets and handouts: https://readingpartners.org/take-action/resources-for-parents/
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