Mother reading

For years, we've know that the education gap between lower and higher income children starts before they even enter preschool, with the latter hearing 30 million more words before age three than their lower-income peers. But now we're learning that this gap could occur much earlier in life at just 18 months. A recent study conducted at Stanford University found that babies from higher income families had better vocabulary recognition than children from less affluent families.

So how do we get children from lower-income families to catch up to their more affluent classmates? It's as simple as talking to your kids about everything and anything, finding lessons in everyday situations, and encouraging a love of reading.

Although these practices do help bridge the gap, they don't make up the fact that children from higher-income families have more access to educational materials than lower-income children during those early years. To fix this problem, Sesame Workshop has partnered with the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation to launch an early childhood literacy program called Everyday Is a Reading and Writing Day.

This free nationwide initiative gives parents, caregivers, and volunteers the resources to get children talking, reading, and writing from an early age. There's even a little help from the muppets on Sesame St. Who better to get a child excited about literacy than Elmo or Grover?

Learn more about Everyday Is a Reading and Writing Day and how you can help at

Find children's books on the Parents Shop.

Image: Mother and her daughters reading books via Shutterstock.