NewsOne Featured Video

Giving your child a leg up on schooling that uses Common Core State Standards is as simple as this act:

Reading a bed-time story.

So says infant and toddler education specialist Daseta Gray, who recently sat down with the National Urban League and NewsOne  and explained the best way to prepare our children for a Common Core education. Hers was part of a series of video interviews with educators, parents and students whose lives are touched by Common Core. The purpose of the series is to boost understanding of the state standards, and why they will help our children succeed in school and life.

RELATED STORY: Confused By Common Core? A Teacher Breaks Down Why It’s “Not The Enemy” [VIDEO]

Common Core State Standards were devised to help teach the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills that students will need to be successful in education and their careers. “It’s really basic things that your students should know in order to make it to the next level in life.”

Reading to your child lays down a mental foundation for success because it teaches listening and language skills — important tools for critical thinking, problem-solving and analysis, Gray explained. The most effective way to read to your child is while he or she is sitting on your lap, she added. That will reinforce the message that reading is a positive and engaging experience.

As NPR has reported, a study backs up Gray’s advice. By age three, low-income children hear an astounding 30 million fewer words from family and other people around then than their more well-off peers. Sixty-five percent of Black and Hispanic children lived in low-income families in 2011.

To close that “word gap” and immerse them in a language-rich environment, Gray suggested that parents not only read to their small children, but “start reading to their babies the minute they bring [them] home.”

RELATED STORY: Use Your Words: Why Common Core English Standards Matter

Also, hard as it is, Gray advises parents not to use the word “No” for the first two years of their lives in order to help them develop self-discipline and critical thinking skills. Instead, she suggests that parents “guide their babies” in what they want them to do, in lieu of simply saying, No, don’t do that.

To learn more about Common Core educational standards, Gray says parents should go to their states’ web sites and start reading up on the topic. The Common Core State Standards Initiative has a map with links to the state sites.

For more information about Common Core Standards visit