Our pediatric practice has always had a focus on reading.  Not only is it important to encourage your children to read age-appropriate books, but it is also very important to start reading to your children as soon as birth.  By listening to the stories you read, children hear a wide variety of words and this helps kids begin to formulate their own vocabularies.
I found this interesting study that was conducted by Dr. John Hutton, who is a  researcher and pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital with a special interest in "emergent literacy" — the process of learning to read.  This research is very exciting and it proves what we have known all along.  When it comes to activating a child’s imagination and learning centers in the brain,  there simply is no substitute for reading to children. 
Dr. Ellen Glotzbach

Children’s Mercy – Cradle Thru College Care
1004 Carondelet Drive, Suite 310  •  Kansas City, Missouri 64114  •  816-942-KIDS (5437)  •  Fax 816-942-4830