Growing a reader from the very beginning

Every year throughout the month of March, classrooms across the nation host reading events for elementary school children. But early literacy starts way before a child reaches a classroom. It begins before babies can talk and continues as they become toddlers and preschoolers. In fact, studies have linked the number of words children know at ages 3 and 4 to their reading comprehension levels in third and fourth grade. Reading daily with children starting at birth helps them learn new words.

When babies hear words and language, their brains develop important connections needed to learn how to read. Sharing books with your baby is an important way to bring them new and unusual words, and it’s also a great opportunity to build a strong and healthy relationship between parent and child, which is what your baby needs most.Read On Arizona: Smart Talk

More great resources to help you grow a love of reading in your young child can be found through Read On Arizona, a First Things First partner that works across Arizona to support early literacy for kids birth to 8 years old.

Smart Talk encourages parents to have quality back-and-forth conversations with your baby during everyday moments, such as meal time, baths and diaper changes. Though babies can’t talk, they can still communicate – through eye contact, facial expressions, smiles and crying.


Learn more about First Things First

First Things First has information and resources to help parents and caregivers support the healthy development of young children.

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