When a parent reads to a young child, the interaction and affection fosters the child's curiosity of learning and development of language skills. This can be critical to laying a foundation that enables the child to begin reading on his own, paving the way to a lifetime of learning.

There are certain aspects of reading development that can be thought of as the literacy equivalent of vaccinations, said Catherine Snow, Ph.D., Henry Lee Shattuck professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.“Those would be: loving parents, physical health, no organic problems like hearing loss or learning disabilities that would interfere, exposure to literacy in the home, seeing parents read, being read to and very importantly,conversation that would help support language development.”

Pediatricians can play a pivotal role in promoting early literacy in a child's life because many parents do not realize the benefits of reading to their children...

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