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Reading to your baby is one of the most important things you can do to help your child grow her vocabulary and develop a love of learning. Reading at home is also essential for learning to read and write once your child begins school.

Babies should be read to starting at infancy, to get used to hearing language, bond with their caregivers, and develop their own love of books and reading. Reading with infants and toddlers helps them develop a longer attention span, a larger vocabulary, an eagerness to read, the ability to predict a storyline, and book-handling skills, all of which will help with learning to read later.

Making book-sharing a part of your daily routine will help your child include reading as part of his daily life. Children who become independent readers regularly demonstrate higher academic achievement in all subject areas over their lifetimes.

Note: reading can and should be done in the language that is most comfortable for you, the parent or primary caregiver. Do not worry if your native language is not English. Your child will benefit from the books you share with him no matter the language and all the skills he acquires will support his literacy in English when the time comes. Additionally, reading to your child in a second language will provide him the opportunity to be bilingual – an asset in our global society. Many Boston Public Library branches carry children's books in various languages or can order them from the main library for you. Ask your local librarian for help in finding books in your home language.

The Talk Read Play Milestones Guide provides ways that all families, regardless of income, home language or culture, can help their child develop strong literacy skills.

Reading now will pave the way for school success!

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