Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Article

Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice

COUNCIL ON EARLY CHILDHOOD; High, P.C., Klass, P., Donoghue, E., Glassy, D., DelConte, B., Earls, M., Lieser, D., McFadden, T., Mendelsohn, A., Scholer, S., Schulte, E.E., Takagishi, J., Vanderbilt, D., Williams, P.G. (2014) Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice. Pediatrics, 134(2), 404-409.,

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Publication year


core topic(s)

Early Literacy , Pediatric Primary Care

Population Characteristics

Medical Providers

Exposures, Outcomes, Other

Child Development (general) , Disparity/Adversity , School Readiness and Educational Outcomes


To discuss literacy promotion in primary care and provide recommendations for policy makers and pediatricians.


Topics Discussed: Language and literacy disparities; Data linking health to literacy; Data supporting office based practice of literacy promotion as an effective intervention; Progress integrating literacy promotion into primary care and the need for advocacy; Recommendations for pediatricians; Recommendations for policy makers.




The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that pediatric providers promote early literacy development for children beginning in infancy and continuing at least until the age of kindergarten entry by (1) advising all parents that reading aloud with young children can enhance parent-child relationships and prepare young minds to learn language and early literacy skills; (2) counseling all parents about developmentally appropriate shared reading activities that are enjoyable for children and their parents and offer language-rich exposure to books, pictures, and the written word; (3) providing developmentally appropriate books given at health supervision visits for all high-risk, low-income young children; (4) using a robust spectrum of options to support and promote these efforts; and (5) partnering with other child advocates to influence national messaging and policies that support and promote these key early shared-reading experiences.


Providing books at pediatric primary care visits to families at economic and social risk, together with developmentally appropriate anticipatory guidance encouraging parents to read aloud with their children, has a powerful effect on the home environment of young children...The positive reinforcement of repeated developmentally appropriate encouragement in the context of the primary care visit reminds parents again and again of the importance of their “face time,” interactive conversations, and their own evolving and essential relationship with their children, which is critical to setting a young child’s developmental trajectory and life course.


Not discussed.