The Benefits of Reading to Children
It is a known fact that reading to children helps them develop the pre-literacy skills needed to be ready for school. A new study proves, however, that reading can also help children develop positive social skills and prevent aggression, hyperactivity and attention deficit.
A recent study looked at 675 families and showed that reading aloud and playing with children resulted in sustained, positive impacts on child behavior.
Participants in the study received books and toys during their child’s pediatric appointments and were videotaped engaging with their children. Afterward, families met with an interventionist to watch the tapes and discuss their child’s response to the interactions. As compared to a control group, those children receiving the intervention were less likely to exhibit aggressive or hyperactive behavior even as long as 18 months later.
Educating parents about the importance of reading to their children is especially important for lower-income families. “Children who grow up in poverty are at much higher risk of behavior problems in school, so reducing the risk of those attention and behavior problems is one important strategy for reducing educational disparities — as is improving children’s language skills, another source of school problems for poor children,” states Dr. Perry Klass, author of Reading Aloud to Young Children Has Benefits for Behavior and Attention.
All parents should consider the importance of reading to and playing with their children from birth to age three as it offers special opportunities for their social and emotional development. Parents should remember that simple moments spent engaged with their children can shape their behavior and their later ability to pay attention and learn.
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