Immunizing our babies against illiteracy: a prescription that could change the world
Parents everywhere should rejoice that the science has finally caught up with the oldest and best-loved activity of parents and kids–reading together. For a half-century we at The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential have had the privilege of teaching parents about brain growth and development, and helping those parents to provide an enriched environment at home for their babies.
The AAP and their partner organizations now recognize that it is parents who are the key to early literacy. Their plan to supply books to low-income families when they visit their pediatricians will be welcome and helpful. But children need new books every day. Funds to save neighborhood libraries and to allow libraries to open earlier and stay open later would serve hundreds of thousands of families each day. Let us hope this initiative will provide the impetus for revitalizing our libraries.
Reading aloud is a good start, but it is only the first step in creating an enriched environment at home for the baby. The baby needs a physical program that permits the baby to move right from the first few days of life. The baby needs a rich variety of intellectual stimulation every day, an easy and effective way to communicate with mother and father, and clean air, clean water, and an excellent diet to be healthy. Most of all, the baby needs mother and father. We all know this.
Our work shows that a baby can learn anything and everything that we can teach joyously. Most babies are being raised by accident, not on purpose. Electronic devices abound. These devices are stealing the attention and interest of our babies, but they squander the baby’s time and energy and deliver little of value. Young parents do need help. Parents need a little know-how, lots of good books and materials, _and time with their baby.
We stand ready, willing, and very able to help those parents and the AAP, and anyone else of goodwill who, like us, wants to put our children on our shoulders and make the world a better place.