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other equally important domain of preparation for formal reading instruction.

Primary prevention of reading difficulties during the preschool years involves ensuring that families and group care settings for young children offer the experiences and support that make these language and literacy accomplishments possible. Parents and other caregivers should spend time in one-on-one conversation with young children, read books with them, provide writing materials, support dramatic play that might incorporate literacy activities, demonstrate the uses of literacy, and maintain a joyful, playful atmosphere around literacy activities. For most children, these primary prevention efforts will ensure that they are ready for formal reading instruction.

Some children require more intensive secondary prevention efforts, including children in high-risk groups as well as those who have been identified as having language or cognitive delays or other sorts of impairments that may make literacy learning difficult. During this developmental period, secondary prevention does not look very different from primary prevention, differing primarily in intensity, quantity, and maintenance of the highest possible quality of interactions around language and literacy. Family-focused efforts are often designed to remove impediments to the availability of such support at home, through parent education, job training, and the provision of social services. Excellent preschools can also make a difference for at-risk children; excellent in this case implies providing rich opportunities to learn and to practice language and literacyrelated skills in a playful and motivating setting. Substantial research confirms the value of such preschools in preventing or reducing reading difficulties for at-risk children.



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