Sometimes the simplest things reap the biggest rewards. If you want to set your children up for success in school and in life, read to them.
The link between how often children are read to at a young age and how well they do in school is remarkable. Numerous studies provide the same evidence: reading to your child early and often gives him a significant head start, and children who start behind stay behind.
What is it about reading that is so important to children's brain development? There's a long list. Reading to young children expands vocabulary and writing skills, promotes healthy social and emotional development (by cuddling up with a book), develops longer attention spans that translates to better retention in school, enhances imaginative and critical thinking skills and improves memory and concentration. The way you read to your child matters, too. The children who did best in school had parents who not only read to them, but also talked about the book's content (i.e. text and illustrations) and helped draw connections in the child's life.There are many ways you can give your baby, toddler or preschooler a head start through the gift of reading. Read to your child every night at the same time and same place to create a routine. Don't worry if he chooses the same book every night. He is developing a love of reading. Make connections when you read to your child. If the story is about a dog, talk about the color of the dog and if he has ever seen a dog like that. If the story is set in a different place, ask your child, "Would you like to go there? Why?" Set a good example by letting your child see you read books, newspapers, magazines, even signs. You will be showing her how reading is an important part of life. Share nursery rhymes and songs. Put down your phone and turn off the DVD player. When you have time to kill with your child, talk to him, sing songs and share the gift of language.
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