Parents Should Read to Infants, Experts Say

September 7, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. hype /haɪp/ (n.) – excessive publicity or promotion of something
Example: People get crazy over the hype on newly released smartphones.

2. optimum /ˈɒptəməm/ (adj.) – the most favorable condition, degree, or amount
Example: Children can attain optimum brain development when exposed to different learning experiences.

3. hinder /ˈhɪndər/ (v.) – to prevent something from happening or to cause difficulties
Example: Lack of constant interaction with parents can hinder the development of a baby’s communication skills.

4. prevalent /ˈprɛvələnt/ (adj.) – common or done by most people
Example: Using the Internet has become more prevalent nowadays.

5. interact /ˌɪntərˈækt/ (v.) – to communicate and mingle with other people
Example:  Parents are advised to interact more with their kids to strengthen their relationship.


Read the text below.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is encouraging parents to read to their children to enhance the youngsters’ language skills amidst the hype of smartphones and tablets.

The group issued a set of guidelines urging doctors to talk to parents about reading to their kids every day from infancy until kindergarten. According to the guidelines, reading to children triggers optimum brain development and strengthens the parent-child ties during early childhood. This initiative also aims to help build children’s vocabulary and communication skills, which could both be carried on through their lifetime.

However, there are obstacles that hinder parents from reading to their kids. Among these are the parents’ busy schedules and the prevalent use of technology. Because of these, the AAP suggested that kids under age two should be away from gadgets and interact with humans and toys instead.

On another note, a research revealed that only one in three children from poor families can read every day. Some of the parents from wealthier families, on the other hand, read to their children until they reach the age of five. In addition, children from poor families learn fewer words than children from richer families.

To address the gap between the rich and the poor, the AAP urges doctors and government officials to give out free children’s books to the poor and working families.

Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state, also supports the guidelines suggested by the AAP. In fact, she announced at the Clinton Global Initiative America that Scholastic, one of the world’s leading publisher of children’s books, will donate 500,000 books to be distributed to families in need.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that using technology during early childhood affects children’s development?
·         How else do you think can the intellect of babies be improved?

Discussion B

·         How can financial status affect one’s learning and literacy?
·         How can we help children from less fortunate families get proper education?

September 7, 2014