by Christy Anderson
It makes sense: the more a child reads, the better a child gets at reading. But studies show that being read to is just as critical to a child’s growing literacy and language development, even in very young children, including infants and toddlers.
Even Children Who Can’t See the Book Learn to Read
Studies conducted this year on children’s brains while they were being read to showed similar brain activity as the activity shown when they read to themselves. This would suggest that children who have more practice hearing and imagining stories in their heads may develop skills that will help them make images and stories out of words they learn to read later on.
In other words, parents who start reading books to their children very early will increase their child’s success in reading when they get older.
Reading Picture Books are Key to Future Reading Success
This is even true when parents “read” picture books to their children. In this activity, children build their language skills by associating their parents’ vocabulary with the pictures they see. The new context each book brings to the parent-child interaction introduces more words to the child than if they hadn’t read the book together. As a result, they learn to read faster.
These new studies support Bookspring’s established efforts to reach young children with books. Through our Early Childhood Program, we make sure that professionals have books on hand to read to very young children at preschools, childcare centers, and similar partner agencies. We’re making a difference to thousands of children annually with these programs.
We’re also part of a national effort to support pediatricians in promoting literacy. Through our Clinics and Health Program, we give new books to thousands of children annually with the help of local pediatricians who also counsel parents about the importance of reading aloud to children as early as six months old.
Science continues to confirm that Bookspring’s efforts will produce reading success in Austin’s children and create a better future for Austin.