First 5 San Diego Encourages Parents to Read to their Infants
November 17, 2010 (San Diego, Calif.) — Many children from low-income communities are entering kindergarten without the basic early literacy skills needed for lifelong success. To help narrow this early childhood literacy gap in San Diego County, First 5 San Diego launched its “Read Early, Read Aloud” campaign in November. The month-long effort encourages parents and caregivers of children ages 5 and younger to read aloud to their youngsters and to participate in literacy events in their communities.
Poor literacy skills is one of the major challenges facing school systems today, but child development experts have found that reading aloud to children before they start school better prepares them for academic achievement and helps cultivate a love of reading, a vital foundation for learning.
“Everyone agrees children need to succeed in school, and while many factors influence how well a child does in an academic setting, their early intellectual growth plays a crucial role,” said Dianne Jacob, San Diego County Supervisor and Chairwoman of the First 5 Commission of San Diego.
“Learning to read should begin at infancy and continue throughout the toddler years because when they listen to stories, they gain crucial language skills,” said executive director Barbara Jiménez, who also offered the following early literacy tips for parents:
- Read to your child every day for at least 30 minutes in total.
- Spend time talking about the pictures in the book before turning the page.
- Try reading for a few minutes at a time; children may only sit for a short time for a story.
- Read favorite stories again and again. Seek out books about things your child likes.
- Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Talk about story time as the favorite part of your day.
- Make the story come alive. Act out the character roles or sing about the pictures.
- Read slowly enough for your toddler to understand.
- Ask questions about the story and let your child ask and answer questions, too.
- For infants, choose simple and colorful cloth and vinyl books with bright colors.
- For preschoolers, choose books with repetition and rhyme.
About the First 5 Commission of San Diego
The first five years of life are critical to a child’s development. These years shape a child’s success in school and in life. First 5 San Diego helps parents and others help children during these early years. The Commission leads the greater San Diego community in promoting the vital importance of the first 5 years of life to the well-being of children, families and society. The ultimate goal of the Commission’s work is that all children ages 0 to 5 are healthy, loved and nurtured, and enter school as active learners. Learn more at first5.demosite.us or call toll-free 1 (888) 5 FIRST 5.