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Reading and School

by Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH

Buying books for your toddler can be expensive, and taking preschoolers to the local library isn’t always a piece of cake. Fortunately, the paybacks are big, and they make all the extra effort worthwhile.

The results of a recent study (The Role of Language in Children’s Early Educational Outcomes, published online June 30, 2011) conducted at Newcastle University showed that children who were taken to the library more often and those who owned more books at two years of age achieved higher scores on school assessment tests when they began elementary school. The research also showed that attending preschool and having parents who engaged them a variety of activities had a positive effect on the children’s test scores. As you might expect, kids who spent the most time parked in front of the television had lower scores.

For busy moms and dads, there’s no doubt that it’s easier to plop a child down in front of the television than it is to take her to the library or even to sit with her and read a book or two. But moms and dads who instill a love of reading books in their toddlers and preschoolers are helping ensure that their kids get off to a good start in their first years at school.

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