With the Miami Book Fair taking place this week, it is an opportune moment to emphasize the transformative power of reading — especially for young children. According to the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 85 percent of a child’s critical brain development occurs by age 5. From as early as birth, children’s experiences with literacy and oral language begin to build a foundation for educational success.
It’s imperative that parents read with their kids during the early stages of their lives. However, nationally, surveys show less than half of young children are read to daily. For children living in poverty, the percentage is far lower.
The Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, a nonprofit that funds and manages several early education and voluntary pre-kindergarten programs, is committed to increasing child literacy and every child’s chances of achieving future educational success. Through our efforts we’ve served more than 500,000 young children with quality early education.
Our approach entails working closely with families to ensure they have access to affordable quality child care and know of the importance of early literacy. If parents have the proper knowledge and support, they are able to provide opportunities for their children to read.
There is no time like the present to start to read with your children. This weekend, I invite all families to attend the Miami Book Fair. Visit the Early Learning Coalition tent at Children’s Alley to participate in impromptu readings, and come by our booth to pick up a free children’s book so you can share the joy and power of reading with your child.
Let’s take the time to read with our kids and give them the tools for lifelong success. Investing in children from the start is investing in a better future for Miami.
Evelio C. Torres, president and chief executive officer, Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe