Reading regularly with a parent or caregiver improves young children’s language development, early reading skills, and school readiness. Hearing the varied and complex words in children’s books builds children’s vocabulary, which helps with early reading.1When adults read with young children and engage them in rich conversations, children:

  • Develop larger vocabularies
  • Learn to read more easily
  • Grow stronger emotionally2

Children who have books in their homes and are read to during the first years of life are more likely to have higher literacy skills in kindergarten.3 Having books in the home builds early literacy by:

  • Improving children’s reading performance
  • Helping them learn the basics of reading
  • Allowing them to read more and for longer periods of time
  • Improving their attitudes toward reading and learning.4

Show 4 footnotes

  1.  Gardner-Neblett, N. & Gallagher, K.C. (2013). More than baby talk: 10 ways to promote the language and communication skills of infants and toddlers. Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Retrieved from
  2.  Strickland, D. (n.d.). Early Literacy: Policy and Practice in the Preschool Years, Reading Rockets, p. 1.  Retrieved January 14, 2017 from
  3.  Reach Out and Read. (2013). Research Summary: The Evidence. Retrieved from
  4.  Learning Point Associates, American Institutes of Research. (2010). Access to Print Materials Improves Children’s Reading: A Meta-Analysis of 108 Most Relevant Studies Shows Positive Impacts. Retrieved from

Read More About This Issue

of NC 4th graders who qualify for free-and-reduced-lunch scored at or above proficient in reading in 2017

National Assessment for Educational Progress

of NC families reported reading every day to their children in 2016

NC Child Health Report Card 2018

of US low-income parents of children under six say that they were told to read aloud to their children from the time they were born compared to 75% of high income parents

Scholastic, Kids & Family Reading Report


What Can We Do About It?

What supports reading with children?

  • A comprehensive, state-wide plan for promoting early reading with children
  • Smart use of technology
  • Research-based practices and programs that improve adults’ knowledge and skills of how to best read with children

Research-based based policies, practices and programs that providers, communities and North Carolina can take to encourage reading with children.

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