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How to Raise a Reader

Preschoolers with large vocabularies tend to become proficient readers. Parents who talk and read with their children can greatly enhance their vocabularies. The vocabulary of the average children's book is greater than that found on prime-time television. Yet more than four in ten preschoolers are not read to regularly.

Children ages 3 to 5 spend an average of 13 hours and 28 minutes a week watching television. When children are plugged in to television instead of reading books, they are not developing key literacy skills that will prepare them for school and help them learn.

The single most significant predictor of children's literacy is their mother's literacy level. The more education a mother has, the more likely she is to read to her child.

Some experts believe that for America's poorest children, the biggest obstacle to literacy is the scarcity of books in many homes. And while books are available at public libraries, only 37 percent of 3- to 5-year olds visit a library at least once a month.



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