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Reading To Children And Brain Development

Updated on June 9, 2011

Brain Development

Most of us enjoy read to our children, but do we understand the importance of it? The Association of American Publishers (APP) reported in a recent article how very important reading to children is.

New discoveries in neuroscience show that reading aloud actually stimulates the growth of a baby's brain. Rethinking the Brain: New Insights Into Early Development , Report of the Conference on Brain Development, University of Chicago, states “An infant's brain structure is not genetically determined. Early experiences have a decisive impact on the architecture of a baby's brain.”

New brain imaging technology shows that literally, in a matter of seconds, thousands of brain cells burst into action when you read to a child. Some brain cells are turned on, some are strengthened; new brain cells are formed, adding more definition to the intricate circuitry of the brain that will remain for the life.

Isn’t this amazing! Would you have ever imagined so much goes on inside a small child’s head just by opening a book!


New Research

In recent years, neurological research has given us a whole new understanding of how the brain develops. An early language experience, which includes reading to children, is crucial to new brain cells and brain circuitry developing. But did you catch the point that these new brain cells only develop while the child is young—toddler age.

As a matter of fact all major educational sites believe. . .

 . . . reading to our children is as important providing good nutrition and as fastening their seat belts.

In today’s economy, it is critical for our children to be well educated. And their abilities and success are measured in their ability to read. This reading ability does not start in Kindergarten, or in preschool, it begins in infancy. If you want to know how well your child reads, ask them how much they like school.

Why Read To Chldren

In his book,The Read-Aloud Handbook, Jim Trelease tells of an inner-city junior high principal who brought the educational scores up from last place to first with a reading program. I think it sums up the importance of reading in relationship to life very well.

Reading is the heart of education.

1. The more you read, the more you know.

2 The more you know, the smarter you grow.

3. The smarter you are, the longer you stay in school.

4. The longer you stay in school, the more diplomas you earn and the longer you are employed---thus the more money you earn in a lifetime.

5. The more diplomas you earn, the higher your children's grades will be in school.

6. The more diplomas you earn, the longer you live.

The opposite would also be true:

  • The less you read, the less you know.
  • The less you know, the sooner you drop out of school.
  • The sooner you drop out, the sooner and longer you are poor.
  • The sooner you drop out, the greater your chances of going to jail.

The basis for that formula is firmly established:

Poverty and illiteracy are related---they are the parents of desperation and imprisonment.

  • 82 percent of prison inmates are school dropouts.
  • 63 percent of inmates are repeat offenders.

Inmates are twice as likely to be ranked in the bottom levels of literacy as is the general population.

60 percent of inmates are illiterate.

Why are such students failing and dropping out of school?

Because they cannot read— which affects the entire report card? Change the graduation rate and you change the prison population—which changes the entire climate of America. The higher a state's high school graduation rate, the smaller its prison population.

Jim Trelease, The Read-Aloud Handbook, Penguin Books Fifth Edition. ( xxiv ssv)

Need I say more?


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    • Alison Graham profile image

      Alison Graham 7 years ago from UK

      Great Hub, so glad you found my hubs so I could find yours - I will be passing on a link to your children's hubs to my daughter who is a primary school teacher - you have some great information to share. voted up

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      Thanks BkCreative. It is always good to be validated.

      I wonder if along with proper nutrition, a good 15 min or reading should be part of child care requirements.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Please please read to your children and yes it makes all the difference. I've taught for a million years and I can immediately tell when a child has been read to - and yes definitely, it is a great form of bonding and nurturing. This is the minimum we should expect from any parent - reading to your child.

      I am so grateful, everyday of my old life that my parents read to me. How well I can remember them sitting there - reading to me - and enjoying it!

      I so enjoy reading your hubs because you always add something I just did not think of - and this it true of your comments.

      Thanks a million. Rated up. Yay!

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      In today's world of internet, video games, children's shows, educational channels, we are losing touch with our children. Children need to be read to. Parents need the relationships that are created by touch and interaction with children. Bonding is one of the most important aspect of reading to children, and one that is almost obsolete.

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      Pamela, Thanks for your comment. Another great benefit of reading to children is the bonding that takes place. I have some amazing statistics about parent-child relationship and reading. So.... Good job Mom!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      This is such an important topic and a very well written hub. I didn't know all the facts when my children were young but I read to them all the time. They loved it and it was a time to cuddle up and be close. Great hub.

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 7 years ago from Utah

      Thanks eovery,

      We find that well educated people read to their children, and uneducated people read less to their children, and school test scores show it. But what is more interesting is that IQ tests show the same results.

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Good topic. My wife read a lot to my children, and they have all been the tops of their classes.

      Keep on hubbing!