Child Development

A Daily Experience, A Lifelong Benefit.

Starting at birth, reading with children puts them on a path to success.

What happens during the first few years sets the stage for the rest of a child’s life. Spending time together while reading aloud helps to create strong parent-child bonds and promotes healthy brain development. Children that are read to more often have improved language and listening skills, experience stronger emotional connections to their loved ones, and gain a lifelong love of reading.

Lasting impact

Experiencing and engaging in language-rich interactions helps children develop communication skills, patience, empathy, and literacy—all of which are critical to success in school and beyond. Even the simple act of handling books develops school readiness in infants. Additional positive effects of reading together include:

  • Better recognition of sounds and letters
  • Knowledge of a wider range of vocabulary
  • Increased listening skills
  • A deeper understanding of how stories work

When we read with our young ones, we help grow their curiosity and memory. Stories transport them to places and times they have never experienced, enhancing their understanding of the world. Holding a child close while reading can help them manage moments of anxiety and create a positive association with reading that endures throughout their lives.

A Critical Window

More than 80% of a child’s brain is formed during their first three years, and what they experience during this window can irreversibly affect how their brain develops. Attention and nurturing from a loving parent or caregiver supports healthy brain development—and one of the best ways to engage young children is to read books together.

Parents are 2.5 times more likely to read with their children.
Children’s language ability improves with increased exposure to Reach Out and Read.
Children’s language development is improved by 3-6 months.
Happier and healthier

When we reflect on our own childhood, many of us have fond memories of snuggling up alongside those who love us and enjoying a favorite story. But even more than the story, it’s the feeling of closeness and security that stands out in our memories. Even the youngest babies love to be held close and hear the voice of a loved one as they read a book aloud. These experiences create strong parent-child bonds and impart a sense of well-being and safety. They also promote healthy brain growth, including positive emotional and social development.