Prescription to Talk and Read

“PRESCRIPTION TO TALK AND READ”: a community project founded on social pediatrics evidence is a pilot-project developed by First Words in an effort to enhance the important role local pediatricians, physicians, nurses practitioners and nurses play in the promotion of early language and literacy readiness during well-baby visits, in particularly,  during the Enhanced Well-Baby 18 Month visit.

Early language and literacy skills predict academic success.



What we say to parents matters!

Tell parents that talking and reading to young children improve language scores and literacy readiness. Children who have better language and literacy skills do better at school and later in life.

Children with higher receptive and expressive language scores and better literacy readiness do better in school, particularly in an areas related to reading comprehension.

“Prescription to Talk and Read” is inspired by well documented research initiatives such as the REACH OUT AND READ project, which has implemented its project with high-risk urban families. When families are encouraged by their primary care professionals to talk and read to their child, they do so more frequently. This has subsequently shown a direct correlation with improvements in their child’s language and literacy readiness skills (Mendelsohn et al, PEDIATRICS 2001). These effects have been found in ethnically and economically diverse families nationwide and internationally.

  • Children in families with low socioeconomic status in and children with language delays are both at greater risk for literacy delays. (Hart & Risley, 2001)
  • The role of the parent in early literacy is well documented. Parents who support the emergent literacy skills of their children enhance school readiness and bolster later academic achievement. (Valdez-Menacha, 1992, Whitehurst, 1992, Flaco, Lonigan et al 1988, Justice, 2003, Senechal, 2005)
  • Children who have received books early in life and/or whose parents begin reading to them consistently at an early age are more likely to succeed in school (McCormick and Mason, 1986; Valdez-Menacha & Whitehurst, 1992)

Click here to access Talk and Read material and learn how you can receive free training from First Words.