The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth.

The association is encouraging health-care providers to talk to parents about the importance of reading, speaking and singing to children every day from the beginning of infancy.

In a news release Wednesday, CPS says babies' brains grow when adults respond to their babbles, and these early interactions can affect language development and literacy skills.

Dr. Alyson Shaw, who authored the CPS guidelines on early literacy, says families should talk to their doctors about the many ways they can support their children's language development.

CPS says babies benefit from communication in any language, and while books are a useful tool, singing and storytelling can also help children pick up on new words and sentence structures.

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021.