Pelham Schools Superintendent Weighs In On Childhood Literacy

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Pelham Schools Superintendent, Peter Giarrizzo.
Pelham Schools Superintendent, Peter Giarrizzo. Photo Credit: File

PELHAM, N.Y. -- Peter Giarrizzo, schools superintendent of the Pelham Union Free School District, is a strong advocate for reading at all stages of life, which is evident in his dealings with the district.

"All parents should be reading to their kids from the minute they can," he said. "Language and vocabulary are so important in all areas of life."

Along with advice on breast-feeding and child-rearing, new parents are receiving a different kind of advice from their doctors: "Start reading to your child now."

The American Academy of Pediatrics announced on Tuesday, June 24, that parents should read aloud to their infants from birth, in order to increase childhood literacy.

The academy, which represents 62,000 pediatricians across the country, stated that an important part of brain development occurs within the first three years of life, and reading to children enhances vocabulary communication.

During his first year as superintendent, Giarrizzo worked to reframe the reading and writing program in Pelham, emphasizing a workshop model advocated by popular educational theory. 

"We have 90 minutes a day, at the elementary level, dedicated to reading skills. It's what I call our 'sacred time,'" he said.

During this period, students are not allowed to be pulled out from class or otherwise distracted.

Additionally, he is working to build up classroom libraries, and is working with a consultant from LitLife to help improve all reading programs.

His efforts, thus far, have been fruitful, with students succeeding across reading levels.

What do you think. Should parents be reading to their children from infancy? Join the conversation in the comments below. 

@suzannesamin

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