QOD: What are the “5 Rs” of early education?

In October 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its updated early literacy toolkit, "Books Build Connections," to enhance early education in young families. In it, the AAP is promoting the "5 Rs" of early education, which emphasize the crucial role of reading out loud, singing, and talking with young children starting as early as infancy.

The “5 Rs” include:

  1. Reading together as a family.
  2. Rhyming, playing, talking, singing, and cuddling many times during the day.
  3. Establishing routines for meals, play, and sleep in order to encourage predictability and teach expectations.
  4. Rewarding successes and positive behavior, particularly through lots of praise.
  5. Building nurturing, meaningful relationships, the basis for healthy child development.

Following these “5 Rs” can help to strengthen parent-child bonding, build vocabulary, and promote literacy development in young children.

Reviewed by Dr. Eva Benmeleh, September 2020


  1. I’ve tried reading to my 15 month old daughter multiple times and she sits still for about….2 minutes. Then it’s, “Daddy that’s my book so I’m gonna go ahead and take it now.” Lol. It’s adorable but can be a tad frustrating at times. Any tips for keeping an infant relatively still while reading. I so very badly want to sit with her in my lap and read with my little Sweet P but it almost never gets passed page 2. I’m sure this is 10000% normal but I figured couldn’t hurt to ask.

    1. Hi Dustin! You may find some tips for that here: Dr. Sara shows how to read to a toddler who can’t sit still! 🙂

    2. I love this question as it applies to nearly every child at some point! The great news is that your daughter is already connecting with books just by showing ownership of “my book”. She already understands how to hold the book and how to turn pages, which are both great pre-reading skills. Other tips are to avoid story books for now and stick with books with very few words or books called look and find books. These books are interactive so they don’t have to be still because they are pointing things out to you and vice versa. Also, build reading into bedtime as well as playtime to increase the chances that a calm environment will give her a chance to focus on reading for a few (5!) minutes. By the time she’s three she’ll be stalling bedtime by asking for more books, I promise!

  2. This is a great toolkit to follow for parents with young children. Part of the nightly routine in our house is bath, book, and then bed. We always incorporate reading a book before bedtime. 🙂


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