Parent beliefs about reading to young children- and factors related to such beliefs- affect a child’s reading skill. But, little is known about parent beliefs about reading to infants and toddlers. To fill this gap, three University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) studied 43 English and Spanish speaking parents of children aged 9-18 months. The three UCEDDs were working on a project to create a children’s book that had tips for parents about how their one year-old learns and grows. The UCEDD study survey asked about parent beliefs about reading to young children (4 questions) and factors related to those beliefs (2 questions). Parents were also asked to give feedback about the book. Nearly all parents agreed that children should be read to as infants and that this helps children develop reading skills. Most (62%) parents said it was ‘very common’ for friends and family to read with children of this age (62%). Parents said that reading the board-book together was: useful for “promot[ing] language,” “help[ing] my baby’s development,” and “help[ing] my child speak.” More research like this can identify ways to help parents of young children develop reading skills.

Plain Language Summary

Reading books with young children helps them learn to read. What parents think about how children learn to read, affects what they do to help children learn to read. There is not much information about this topic in parents of infants and toddlers. This paper reports on a study by three UCEDDs helping to create a children’s board-book. The UCEDD study surveyed 43 parents of 9-18 month old children. The UCEDD study also tape-recorded what parents said about reading the board-book with their children. Most parents agree that reading to infants is the right thing to do, and that it helps them become better readers. Parents thought that the board-book would help their child’s language and speech.