Mothers and their babies from an urban public hospital’s newborn nursery were recruited for the study. Over 250 pairs between 6 months and 4 ½ years of ages were monitored for their degree of understanding of words, and for early reading and literacy skills.
Comparisons were made between the findings and the quantity of shared book-reading, like the days spent reading together per week and the number of books they have at home. The quality of shared book reading was assessed by questioning parents on the conversations they had with their child over the pictures in the book, the emotions displayed by the characters, etc; and by assessing whether the stories were age-appropriate.
The study revealed that reading with children right from infancy boosts reading and vocabulary skills four years later, before elementary schooling begins. And, the reading quality and quantity predicted the child’s vocabulary.
These findings highlight the significance of parenting programs utilized in pediatric primary care that encourage shared book-reading immediately after birth.
The abstract of the study was presented under the title "Early Reading Matters: Long-term Impacts of Shared Book reading with Infants and Toddlers on Language and Literacy Outcomes”.