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Child Development Research
Volume 2012, Article ID 602807, 15 pages
Review Article

How Reading Books Fosters Language Development around the World

1Vanderbilt University, 230 Appleton Place, 230 Peabody, Nashville, TN 37203, USA
2Departments of Psychology and Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
3Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19003-2506, USA

Received 23 August 2011; Accepted 20 November 2011

Academic Editor: Susan A. Gelman

Copyright © 2012 David K. Dickinson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Research on literacy development is increasingly making clear the centrality of oral language to long-term literacy development, with longitudinal studies revealing the continuity between language ability in the preschool years and later reading. The language competencies that literacy builds upon begin to emerge as soon as children begin acquiring language; thus, the period between birth and age three also is important to later literacy. Book reading consistently has been found to have the power to create interactional contexts that nourish language development. Researchers, pediatricians, and librarians have taken notice of the potential for interventions designed to encourage parents to read with their children. This article reviews research on the connections between language and later reading, environmental factors associated with language learning, and interventions developed in varied countries for encouraging book use by parents of young children.