It is no surprise that reading to your children is a good thing, but a recent study suggests taking things one step further can have a significant impact on your child’s brain!
Experts have long recommended children be introduced to reading as early as possible and now an international study found greater brain activation in four-year-olds when they are “highly engaged.”
According to information published by the Ohio News Network, the study headed by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found higher brain activity when children were asked questions and more engaged during reading time.
Dr. John Hutton noted it acts as a “turbo charge” for the brain.
“Kids that are read to more from a younger age and whose parents get excited about reading, and really interact with them in a loving and nurturing way, are more likely to teach their kids that reading is a fun thing, and something they really want to pay attention to and that they really want to do.”
Hutton went on to explain that parents and caregivers can read the words on the page and then, ask simple questions.
“If you are reading about a dog say, ‘Oh, we have a dog, do you think our dog would like to do this?’ and you know, ‘What’s grandma’s dog’s name?’ And the more that happens, the more kids feel involved in the process, the more they’re going to practice their language skills and they’re going to want to do it more. So, the more interactive, the better.”
And Hutton noted, you can engage our children even if they’re really young.
“A lot of parents will say, ‘Well what can my baby do, you know? They don’t understand yet, they’re not talking yet.’ And it’s really just getting the child on the lap, opening the book, letting them hold the book. And then for the little babies, it’s going to be mostly about that feeling of connecting with the parents, with the book.”
Hutton explained there is no perfect reading experience. What’s important, he said, is creating a routine at home, making it fun and beginning as early as possible.
The study suggested parents develop a reading routine that allows them to spend quality time with their child and a book on a daily basis. That also means turning off cell phones, which Hutton says, are the most common preventable barrier to a quality story