Read 20 AZ is an Arizona Department of Education initiative to encourage early literacy. Throughout the nation, educators and child development advocates use the slogan “Read 20” to emphasize the importance of reading at least twenty minutes a day, either independently or with another person. The Read 20 AZ message is simple: read early, read often, and read together.
Reading aloud is another powerful tool for promoting early literacy. When infants are read to, their brains begin preparing to learn words. By the time a baby is grabbing for the book, they are able to tell words apart. Toddlers who have been read to regularly can not only demand their favorite books at bedtime, but start matching sounds to letters. With the alphabet and years of stories under their belts, young children have the building blocks to start sounding out words. Reading aloud then becomes a technique young readers use to get better and faster. Fluent readers can complete the circle by reading to newer readers, even as they enhance their own vocabulary and comprehension. Reading aloud supports each of the “5 Pillars of Early Literacy.”