for-reading-813666_640The best predictor of a baby’s future academic achievements is not parental income, level of parent education, or ethnicity, but rather the number of words spoken to the baby and the amount of time spent in active engagement from birth to 3 years of age. Just as food nourishes a growing child’s body, language interactions nourish a child’s brain. Research indicates that both quantity and quality of language are essential for vocabulary development, which is predictive of third grade reading proficiency; children who can’t read to learn by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

Presenter Dr. Jennifer Stapel-Wax introduced the topic of language nutrition and shared with the library community tips on encouraging early literacy development in communities.

Dr. Stapel-Wax is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine and the Director of Infant and Toddler Clinical Research Operations at the Marcus Autism Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

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