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Early Literacy: Why children should be introduced to reading early in life.

Why is reading important? It is a question that a lot of people have always pondered on. There seems to be so many other things to do with one’s time. Over and above, reading is fundamental to functioning in today’s society, it develops the mind. Reading is an important skill, in that it builds a foundation for success in school and later in life. It is becomes even more beneficial when introduced early in life. Hence, it is never too early to start reading with our children.

Teaching young children to read helps them develop their language skills. It also helps them learn to listen. It is of great importance to note that, lack of listening skills has resulted in major misunderstandings which led to loss of jobs, marriage breakup, and other disasters.

Reading is an important activity in acquiring literacy. It enhances concentration, attention span, and discipline. It improves speech and cognitive skills, builds motivation, curiosity, and memory. It also enhances children’s social skills.

When parents talk, read, and sing with their babies and toddlers, connections are formed in their young brains. These connections build language, literacy, and social–emotional skills at an important time in a young child’s development. These activities strengthen the bond between parent and child.”(American Academy of Pediatrics)

Extensive research shows that a disparity in early literacy is distributed across socioeconomic lines. Children from low- income families have less exposure to book reading and print and this has resulted to reading difficulties.

Reading difficulties can be prevented by providing children with access to early environments that provide basic reading skills and that promote language and literacy development.

In this view, Community Initiatives Agenda – CIA, in its education program has embarked on a library project in the 3 public primary schools that have early learning centers attached to them and located in the remote regions of Kajiado County in Kenya. This project is aimed at supporting the children to improve their reading and writing skills, which are extremely weak and affects their overall performance.

“Everyone has an opportunity to support this project through a donation of $4 per book”