Read Aloud 15 Minutes - Let’s Talk: Nourishment

Read Aloud 15 Minutes - Let’s Talk: Nourishment

By Jennifer Liu Bryan

A new mother would never deny a hungry baby the bottle or her breast.

And if parents thought of a baby’s hungry, growing brain in the same way, they would offer to read aloud as often as they offered milk or formula.

That’s the message that Read Aloud 15 MINUTES, a national non-profit that promotes 15 minutes of daily reading aloud from birth, wants parents everywhere to receive during its “Let’s Talk: Nourishment” campaign this month.

“From the moment babies are born, parents devote so much energy to keeping their children well nourished,” says Read Aloud 15 MINUTES founder, Dr. Candace Kendle. “We want parents to make the connection that babies’ brains are also in need of food: brain food.”

Brain food, Kendle explains, comes in the form of exposure to vocabulary; knowledge-building and rich interactions with loved ones. What activity checks all of these “nutritional” boxes? Reading aloud. “One of the best activities for nourishing a baby’s brain,” she says, “is reading aloud together for at least 15 minutes every day from birth.”

The non-profit is not the only organization touting the power of reading aloud. Earlier this summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics for the first time weighed in on literacy education, officially recommending that parents read to children from birth and empowering its 62,000 pediatricians to advocate the practice to their patients.

So, why the growing chorus for reading aloud from birth?

  • Because reading ability in elementary school is highly predictive of high school graduation rates and later success, and two-thirds of third graders lack reading proficiency.
  • Because only 60% of children from wealthier families, and only about one-third of children from families below the poverty line, are read aloud to each day.
  • Because reading aloud is regarded as one of the best ways to foster vocabulary, pre-literacy skills and a broad knowledge base, and can strengthen crucial parent-child bonds.
  • Because if parents understood the difference reading aloud makes, they would want to do it.

“We believe that parents want the best for their children, and that reading aloud daily, from birth, is one of the best ways to enhance children’s futures,” says Read Aloud 15 MINUTES co-founder and Executive Director, Bob Robbins. “We hope that our “Let’s Talk: Nourishment” campaign helps parents to make the connection that reading aloud, like food for their bodies, is an essential part of their children’s day.”

To learn more or join the Read Aloud 15 MINUTES October campaign, “Let’s Talk: Nourishment” visit its website at ReadAloud.org.

Jennifer Liu Bryan is a co-founder of ReadAloud.org, a national non-profit dedicated to educational change by making 15 minutes of daily reading aloud the national caregiving standard.


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