Importance of Reading to Babies

11 May

freestock_217914181As a former children’s librarian, I know the importance of reading aloud from birth. But, it’s nice to see that science backs up this knowledge with a new long-term study by the New York University School of Medicine. 250 mother-child pairs were monitored from when the babies were 6-months to 4 1/2 years old. They monitored how often mothers read to their children and how involved in the reading they were – did they talk about the pictures, ask their children questions, etc.

The results show that quantity and quality of reading effect a child’s emerging literacy skills and the effects of quality of reading have longer lasting effects “leading to measurable differences in early reading and literacy skills by the time the children turned 4-and-a-half.”

And this suggests (which most children’s librarians agree with) that reading promotes conversation and encourages vocabulary and background knowledge skills. A children’s book can have three times richer vocabulary than typical conversation, which is why reading and talking are integral and connected parts to a child’s development.

This research supports the American Academy of Pediatrics’s current stance on the importance of reading early and often with children. And although the results of this research hasn’t changed in a number of year, it’s valuable to remind families in the hustle and bustle of an electronic age, just how important reading a physical book can be. To read the article about this research, check out the Huffington Post.

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