Reading regularly with young children, including babies, has been shown to exert a positive effect on their developing brain. Behavioral evidence has shown that children who are read to, especially before school entry, experience stronger parent-child relationships and learn valuable language, literacy and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.
A study published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), studied children ages three to five to examine the relationship between shared parent-child reading and brain activity. An MRI scan performed while listening to stories showed a strong, positive association between home reading environment (involving access to books, frequency of reading, and variety of books read) and brain activation during story listening. Children from more stimulating home reading environments had greater activity in brain areas supporting narrative comprehension and visual imagery, which are important for both language and reading.
These findings reinforce the AAP’s 2014 recommendations that all parents read aloud with their young children, beginning in infancy. Unlike TV, videos or other passive or solitary electronic media exposure, parents reading with young children is a very personal and nurturing experience. It’s a one-on-one activity that your baby will love. So turn off the TV, grab your baby and a book, and create benefits that last forever.
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