become successful readers, and their findings are reflected in this book, which is based on the groundbreaking study Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children.

In our society, reading is essential for creating a healthy mind and for building the capacity needed for a lifetime of learning. It is therefore our hope that this book—and others like it—will be prescribed by pediatricians, as part of their responsibility to help parents raise a healthy child. Many parents who read this book may be surprised to learn of research suggesting that infants only a few months old should be read to, as part of the preparation they will need much later for reading—or that reciting nursery rhymes is an important part of reading preparation. As parents and grandparents, we have found that reading out loud with our younger family members creates a strong bond between generations, providing us with many shared experiences to enjoy. We remember reading to our children even after they had become excellent readers, allowing us to explore literature together. In retrospect, we now realize that the obvious enjoyment of these sessions helped our children to view reading as a very pleasurable experience.

Our friend Dr. Vartan Gregorian, former president of the New York City Public Library, has said:

“Any book creates for the reader a place elsewhere. A person reading is a person suspended between the immediate and the timeless. This suspension serves a purpose that has little to do with escaping from the real world, the sin avid readers are most commonly accused of. Reading provides renewal. What is renewed is the imagination.”

No person should be deprived of one of life’s real pleasures, the joy of reading.

Bruce and Betty Alberts

Bruce and Betty Alberts have four children, including a foster child who joined the family at age 13. They have 3 grandchildren ages 2 to 7, plus one more on the way. They look forward with great eagerness to visits with grandchildren, which provide them with an excuse to enjoy reading children’s books once again. In addition to his family responsibilities, Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.


From Bemelmans, L. (1939) Madeline. New York: The Viking Press.

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