Reading books to your child, starting in infancy, will impact their vocabulary and reading skills years later. It is important to have positive interactions while reading, so you should have conversations about the books, label pictures, talk about the feelings of the characters in the book. This will make a difference when your child is 4 or 5 years old and starting pre-kindergarten or kindergarten. This has also been shown to affect behavior. There is a very significant reduction in aggression and hyperactivity in children if parents read to them and play with them when they are young. Sophisticated neuroimaging has helped us understand why. The brain grows faster in infancy than any other time of life. A nurturing caregiver, reading and responding to an infant or toddler, helps nerves in the brain connect at a rate of 1 million/second. This provides the foundation for developing language, math, spatial reasoning and self regulation skills. Less nurturing input leads to a weak foundation. The difference is measurable even in the first year of life and the difference increases over the years. Bottom line—read books to your child that are interactive (not electronic), describe objects during a walk, sing songs, tell stories to activate parts of the brain related to comprehension. Bottom, bottom line—read to your child early, read to your child often. You will never again have the opportunity to make this large of an impact on their development.
Leave a Reply