For many years, parents have been reminded to read to their children at home long before kindergarten. As most of us know, the anecdotal evidence has been overwhelmingly positive. But for the first time, scientists have looked at the actual structure of the brain to determine what effects occur when parents read to their children.
Researchers at Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital examined the brain scans of 19 children from different income levels, to determine if the scans showed measurable differences in those who were read to consistently and those who were not.
“Results showed that greater home reading exposure was strongly associated with activation of specific brain areas supporting semantic processing (the extraction of meaning from language). These areas are critical for oral language and later for reading.
“Brain areas supporting mental imagery showed particularly strong activation, suggesting that visualization plays a key role in narrative comprehension and reading readiness, allowing children to ‘see’ the story. ‘This becomes increasingly important as children advance from books with pictures to books without them, where they must imagine what is going on in the text,’ said Dr. John Hutton, pediatrician and author of the study.”
So, the takeaway is: keep reading to your children. It’s fun, a wonderful way to spend time together, and the benefits of these sessions will remain with your children for years and years down the road.
To read more about this brand new study, click below.