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Our View: Reading to your children: It's never too soon




When should parents begin reading to their children? 


Research says it's never too soon. 


According to a New York Times report, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending parents begin reading to their children from birth. The pediatricians say an important part of a child's brain development comes within the first three years of life, and reading to children not only helps with their command of language, but helps develop communication skills, as well. There is also ample evidence that close, physical contact with an infant (holding, touch) strengthens the bond between parent and child, like few other things. 


In many respects, there is nothing a parent can do for a child that has more practical value than reading to the child, an act that can create a love of the written word that leads children to developing reading and comprehension skills of their own. Reading is the fundamental base of all learning and while previous generations may never have really started to read until as late as first grade, more and more children are learning to read, some as early as age 3. In a competitive world, the earlier a child can begin to learn to read, the better position that child will be. Today's generation of young people are skilled in using technology because they grew up with it. The same principle applies with reading. 


The benefits go far beyond childhood. Children who read early, develop skills that make for a successful education, leading to better jobs, leading to stronger communities. There is probably no greater weapon against poverty than an education, and reading is where education naturally begins. 


Recognizing the vital importance of reading, The Dispatch has partnered with the Columbus Arts Council to create a local branch of Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. In its 18 years of existence the program has spread to roughly 1,600 communities around the country. Nearly 700,000 children have collectively received 40 million books. This elegantly simple program mails a free book each month to enrolled children newborn to 5 years old in age. 


The goal of the non-profit Lowndes County Imagination Library is to enroll every child in the county. 


Since kicking off the local effort in February, 441 Lowndes pre-schoolers have been enrolled in the program. 


It is our hope that providing these books will encourage parents to read to their children, which in turn will develop a life-long love of reading by those children. 


We can think of no better gift. 


Parents who would like to enroll a child in the program, can sign up at The Dispatch office or The Rosenzweig Arts Center. For more information, or if you would like to help fund the program, call Haylie Quatrevingt at 662-328-2424.



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