It’s true: I use my children as an excuse to buy new books that I want to read, or rather, that I want to read to them. I’ve long believed that if I do, they’ll come to love books and reading as much as I do.
It turns out that doctors might agree with me.
In an article on KSL today, doctors are telling parents that reading to your kids is important for helping them learn to talk.
“More Utah pediatricians are asking about literacy and even giving books away… Dr. Wendy Hobson-Rohrer says they start with children as young as 6 months old. ‘That’s really a critical time for language development,’ she said. ‘We’ve seen that if you give books to children and encourage their parents to read to them, their language skills improve dramatically.'”
It doesn’t stop with language skills. It helps brain development, too.
In Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever Mem Fox writes that “Recent brain research has revealed that the early years of life are more critical to a child’s development than we ever realized. Children’s brains are only 25 percent developed at birth. From that moment, whenever a baby is fed, cuddled, played with, talked to, sung to, or read to, the other 75 percent of its brain begins to develop. And the more stimulation the baby has through its senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing, the more rapidly that development will occur.” (page 13)
The effects are long-lasting, too.
“The crucial connections that determine how clever, creative, and imaginative a child will be are already laid down by the time that child turns one.” (page 14)
People, it is time to cuddle up with babes and a board book and start reading.