In Brief

Parents Should Read to Kids Starting in Infancy, Docs Say

A baby sits looking at a book.
(Image credit: Baby photo via Shutterstock)

Parents should read to their children often, and start well before the kids enter school, according to a new statement from the nation's largest group of pediatricians.

The statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that pediatricians advise parents to read regularly to their children, beginning in infancy and continuing at least until the child enters kindergarten. Reading to children at a young age fosters parent-child bonding and encourages the development of early literacy skills needed in school, the statements says.

The AAP also recommends that pediatricians provide books at health check-ups to low-income children who are at high risk of having low reading proficiency.

"Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime," the statement says.

Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.