This is so cool that Washington State and its law enforcement get the big policepicture here as reported by Molly O’Connor on Birth to Thrive Online. Washington’s definitely to be commended for seeing the larger picture.

Early literacy initiatives see similar results in graduation rates and crime prevention. If children have been read to regularly in the years before they enter school, they are able to learn to read. If not, the vast majority never get the hang of it, leading to everything from dropping out to teen pregnancy to jail time. For kids who are not being read to home, preschools are a lifesaver.

Why does reading aloud work? Reading aloud gives children the chance to develop six early literacy skills that are the groundwork for learning to read. Nothing really has to be “taught” in a formal sense. Read, talk about the pictures and the story, have a good time, and the skills develop.

Here they are:

  • Print motivation (liking and being interested in books)
  • Vocabulary (knowing the words for “stuff”)
  • Print awareness (noticing those “scribbles” on the pages and more)
  • Narrative skills (relating sequences and telling stories)
  • Letter knowledge (familiarity with the alphabet)
  • Phonological awareness (hearing individual sounds and sound units)

Check out my tags for more about the six skills.

Mostly though, go find a kid and read a book!