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Niklas, Frank ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3777-7388; Cohrssen, Caroline ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2091-3125 and Tayler, Collette (2016): The sooner, the better: Early reading to children. In: Sage Open, Vol. 6, No. 4 [PDF, 159kB]


As reading to children plays an important role in language development, primary caregivers are often encouraged to read to their children from a very young age. However, little is known about the age at which such reading should start. The linguistic skills of 104 children were assessed shortly before school entry. Their parents were asked how old their children were when they first read to them and how often they had read to their children. Almost half of the study children were read to before they were 6 months old. The age at which children were first read to was closely associated with family characteristics such as socioeconomic status, the frequency with which children were read to as preschoolers, and with children’s linguistic and cognitive competencies. The findings imply that reading books to very young children indeed contributes meaningfully to a favorable home literacy environment and supports children’s language development.

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