Topeka (WIBW) - It is important for children to develop reading skills, but you might not realize how early it should start.
Dr. Michael Cotter, of PedatricCare in Topeka, says children as young as six months old respond to pictures of faces in books and react to the emotions they express. From there, he says, they'll identify colors and shapes and animals, and continue to progress to realizing the words on the page have meaning.
The early reading experience is so important, the American Academy of Pediatrics now actually recommends doctors "prescribe" reading for parents and children.
To help with that, Cotter and his partners at PediatricCare received a grant from the Kansas Pediatric Foundation for the "Turn a Page, Touch a Mind Program." Starting at six months of age, parents receive a new book for their child at each well child check, thru age six.
Cotter says studies show when parents are given books and books are discussed with their pediatrician, kids are more likely to have their parents read to them., to own books and their language skills improve.
Besides books, there are also bookmarks with age-appropriate advice for how parents and children can interact while reading. Both the bookmarks and books are available in English and Spanish.
It all helps kids turn the page from reading for fun to success in school.
Turn a Page, Touch a Mind is at 40 sites in Kansas In Topeka, besides PediatricCare, doctors at Pediatric Associates and Topeka Pediatrics also participate.