Early exposure to language is the greatest factor in language development and learning to read. By reading together every day, you stimulate and strengthen your child's language and literacy skills. It is that simple. By reading and talking with your child each day, you bond with them and model the love of reading, which will benefit them in school and throughout life.
Neuroscience provides compelling evidence that 85 - 90 percent of brain growth occurs in the first five years of life. This affects not only cognitive skills but also emotional development.
Fostering your child’s cognitive development is just as important as nurturing his or her emotional and physical development. Cognitive development includes language skills, information processing, reasoning, intelligence, and memory.
The best way an adult can help a child’s cognitive development is to read with them every day, beginning at birth. When children are young, they learn language from the speech they hear. By reading with a child, you introduce many more words than those used in day-to-day communication.
Reading builds brains, fostering early learning and creating connections in the brain that promote language, cognitive, and social and emotional development.
By reading with your child, you also help cultivate a lasting love of reading. Reading for pleasure can help prevent conditions such as stress, depression and dementia. (University of Liverpool)
Decades of early literacy research, from Durkin (1966), Bus van Ijezendoorn, and Pellegrini (1995), to Neuman and Celano (2006), provide convincing evidence that the interactions young children enjoy at home with their caregivers, especially conversation and hearing stories read aloud specifically play a significant role in academic success and beyond. (www.scholastic.com)
A data set analysis of nearly 100,000 U.S. school children found that access to printed materials — and not poverty — is the “critical variable affecting reading acquisition.” (McQuillan, 1996)
MRI scans show increased brain activity in children whose parents read with them regularly. (WebMD)
Reading From Birth
It is never too early to read with your child. From day one, your child is learning every waking moment. In the first three years of your child’s life, 700 new connections between cells in the brain are formed each second (Center on the Developing Child). This is a rate faster than any other time in his or her life. You build your child's listening, memory, vocabulary skills, and more when you read together.
Keep on Reading
While parents have a tendency to stop reading with their children once they read independently, these are the years to continue reading! As you read together, you bond with your child, and help build his or her vocabulary.
Reading with your children isn’t just about reading what’s written on the page. By using dramatic voices, pointing to different pictures on the page, and asking your child to predict what will happen next, you’re engaging them on many different levels.
Paper vs. Electronic
Neuroscience research shows that paper-based content is better connected to memory in our brains (Bangor University). So while electronics are becoming more and more prevalent in our day-to-day life, keep printed books the main form of reading in your home.
When reading an e-book, the moment that book becomes interactive, the part of the brain engaged in the activity changes and it no longer is an activity that builds literacy skills. There is no give and take here, electronics should be an enhancement and not a replacement.