Pediatrician Explains Why Reading to Children Is Vital

Season 1 Episode 105
Aired on 03/11/2017 | CC tv-14
Reading daily to your children at home can be an incredible learning and bonding experience for both parent and child. Unfortunately, low-income families often lack age-appropriate books in the home.

Pediatrician Jill Alexander explains why babies and young children who are not read to at home suffer greatly in school. "We know that 90 percent of brain development happens before a child is five," she says. "If we wait until kids are in school, it's too late."

Children from low-income homes entering kindergarten have a 3 million word gap compared to their peers coming from affluent homes, she says. "If you're not reading at grade level in third grade, you get to fourth and fifth and then we start having school truancy and dropping out of school, leading down a completely different path."

Because Dr. Alexander knows how the simple act of reading can change a child's future, she works with the nonprofit organization Raising Readers in Story County, which helps to improve language and literacy development in children. Through its Reach Out and Read program, Dr. Alexander is able to provide a book to every child she sees during their well checkup.

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