Nearly 90% of all young children see a child health provider at least annually for a check-up, while less than one-third are in any childcare setting, the next most common contact with a formal service system.
Charles Bruner, in The Colorado Trust’s Issue Brief: Connecting Child Health and School Readiness, February 2009.
Early literacy promotion makes sense for communities as a whole. Early investment in children’s reading fluency saves on costly reading recovery programs later on, when the probability of rehabilitating a child’s damaged self-confidence is much lower. Children who enter school prepared to learn and to understand what they are being taught start way ahead of their peers for whom reading and books are almost foreign concepts. As shocking as this may be, almost half of all Wisconsin children under age five are not read to on a daily basis. More Wisconsin data is available here.
While 4-year-old kindergarten, Head Start, and Early Head Start programs make sense, research has shown that by the age of 18 months there already are differences in the vocabulary sizes of low and high socioeconomic status populations. Programs such as Reach Out and Read have peer-reviewed, published evidence in scientific journals showing a direct impact of reading on vocabulary.
For a mere investment of $50, an entire “dose” of Reach Out and Read can be delivered to a single child for four and a half years. There are few programs that offer so much for so little cost. Additionally, children who love reading are far more likely to make use of the excellent public library systems available in so many communities.