Pediatric group recommends reading to kids from birth

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s been a huge political issue the past few years: What to do with New Mexico’s kids who are behind when it comes to reading.

Doctors are now saying the real problem for those kids starts before kindergarten, even before preschool.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that parents read out loud to their children starting from birth.

“It sounds crazy. You’ve got this little four-month-old, six-month-old, they have no idea of ‘Goodnight Moon,’ but it works,” said Dr. Vic Strasburger, distinguished professor of pediatrics at UNM School of Medicine.

Dr. Strasburger said the announcement comes as concerns mount over new technology and its effects on children.

“The babies that are watching TV and presumably other screens like iPads or cellphones are blobs, are just not interacting in the same way,” he said.

As the kids grow up, teachers say they too see a difference in the students who’ve been read to at home.

KRQE News 13 spoke with Adobe Acres Elementary School teacher Elyse Sedillo.

“Socio-economic status plays a lot into it because when parents are on survival mode, there is very little time to read books and do things of that nature,” she said. “Many of our parents have two jobs.”

She said that is why summer programs are important to make sure students don’t miss out on that extra learning time.

As for all the new technology out there, pediatricians suggest keeping kids away from screens, like TVs and iPads, until they’re at least two years old.

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