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Education Station: Parents, don't underestimate story time

Developing literacy skills begins at home, and early in development.

CLEVELAND — It's the time of year to cozy up with a good book and that goes for our little ones too. In fact, its vital to their development - even as babies. 

 An organization called "Reach Out and Read" provides books to kids in underserved communities by giving them books at their doctor's office. 

Reach Out and Read's Greater Cleveland Executive Director Lynn Foran shared some insight on how kids grow literacy skills. 

 "Babies love to see other babies," Lynn said holding up a picture book with the face of a toddler. "This one is a favorite given out to a 6 month old and you will just watch your baby fixate on the pictures. And then as they get older they can start to turn the pages themselves so these board books, and of course they are going to put them in their mouth, but all of those things are just things that are happening in the brain," she said.   

 It's as simple as babies and young kids enjoying the sound of your voice reading to them. It shows them that reading is a pleasant experience.

Mother sitting at baby's bed and reading fairy tale book

"If they want to act it out let them act it out or you act out the story with them. But, really changing that tone of your voice, it's just not reading the words, it's bringing it to life. And you know, what if you change the words? They're not necessarily going to know unless it's like the 10th time you've read that book," Lynn said.  

Find a Reach Out And Read Site Near You

And - don't worry if your child picks out the same book again and again. They love the comfort of knowing what's going to happen. 

These methods aren't just for young kids It helps to read to older kids as well, to develop their love of books and their vocabulary skills.

If you would like to help with Reach Out and Read, they take new or gently used book donations and also have a volunteer program where you can read to kids at a University Hospital location and MetroHealth Hospital. 

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*Editor's Note: The video in the player above is from a previous report.

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