Wednesday, October 15, 2014

More Literacy, Pleez

In case you missed it, this summer the American Academy of Pediatrics decided pediatricians should worry more about literacy. Their June policy statement declares reading the best thing a parent can do promote healthy development (i.e. brain development). Indeed, the pediatric grand poo-bahs should worry more about literacy, beginning with their own readin' and writin'.

In fact, beginning with the very first sentence of the policy statement:


That's a long one. Let me channel my high school English teacher:


I would have ignored the above if it weren't for another more pressing matter:


As written it's not clear what builds lifetime language, literacy and social-emotional skills. The "s" on builds suggests a singular subject (reading regularly, brain development, critical time, child development?). None of the available singular subjects, though, make sense either from a theoretical or a grammatical perspective.

I assume it should read "build" instead. The authors probably meant to claim both 1) optimal patterns of brain development and 2) parent-child relationships influence the lifelong outcomes. If this is the case, then the above mess reflects either 1) a typo or 2) a grammatical error (a lapse in subject-verb agreement).

Neither possibility bodes well for an official recommendation advocating more literacy and language skills.



NOTE: I'd meant to write a post on E-Books/literacy and the question of how story-time on tablets and other screens differs from reading traditional books. The AAP literacy statement didn't take on the matter because as the policy author, Dr. Pamela Highman explained, "We tried to do a strong evidence-based policy statement on the issue of reading starting at an early age. And there isn't any data, really, on e-books."

Also, the experts will have to delicately navigate how to push the early reading recommendation (and the reality of more electronic books) with their stringent NO SCREEN TIME recommendations. I cannot wait to see how they resolve that conflict. I'm also anxious for them to tell me to limit teen screen time when my daughters spend many hours both at school and at home working on their laptops. Now that dilemma, dear readers, makes toddler story-time look like a level 1 easy reader book.


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