Former First Lady and U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton encourages parents to read to children from their earliest days, and she doesn’t think that electronic devices can replace the importance of parents as teachers for young children.
In an appearance at the San Diego Convention Center to pediatricians who are supporting parents reading to children, Clinton announced that there is an early literacy tool kit now available to help promote verbal development in young children. The tool kit is a resource for pediatricians who are encouraging parents to read out loud, sing, and chat freely with their young children from birth. The kits are being shared with 62,000 members of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Clinton is the author of “It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us” and “Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids’ Letters to Their First Pets”. She listened intently to concerns expressed during extended comments about the “word gap” that occurs when vocabulary development is stunted in early life. “As we have learned in the last 15 years, scientists can literally watch the synapses and the neurons firing when parents are reading and talking with children from their very earliest days,” she said. The Academy of Pediatrics recommended in June no TV or electronic screen time for children under the age of 2, and less than two hours for older children, igniting a national controversy.
“Now technology is of course changing how Americans read and in many ways it is opening up exciting new avenues for learning,” Clinton said. “We don’t have enough research, but I think what we are learning is that the earliest years before a child is 2, televisions, iPads and screens are no substitute for actual parent-child interactions like talking, reading and.
The Academy has joined with the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation and Next Generation, the California-based policy group to respond to research concerning language sensitivity that begins in infancy.