Stories help develop brain neurons
I’ve always been fascinated with storytelling. I remember being read to as a child, eventually reading myself, then creating and writing tales and short stories by the time I was in fourth grade. Not only does reading to kids stimulate creativity, it helps their brains function and grow. In fact, according to a study by the Institute of Education, children who enjoy reading obtain better results in school – achieving more in vocabulary, spelling and math. Reading also paints a picture that absolutely anything is possible with a little imagination.
In honor of National Read Across America Day and Dr Seuss Day, we’ve provided several reasons why reading to your kids regularly is crucial for their bodies and their minds:
1. It offers real human connection
Snuggling up in bed or sitting on a parent’s lap while being read to provides a nurturing, comforting bond that transcends pure education.
2. It connects the dots between pictures and words
Teach kids what things are through associating pictures with words. This contributes to the wiring process in the brain that connects images to words, and helps children recognize the importance of language.
3. It builds language skills
Before a child can read, they learn words through hearing. According to Reading is Fundamental, an organization devoted to promoting literacy, children learn to love the sound of language before they even notice the existence of printed words on a page – thus developing their listening skills.
4. It builds neural connections
According to an American Academy of Pediatrics study, regular reading helps strengthen fragile connections among neurons in the brain. As a result, parents should begin reading to children from birth.
5. It develops imagination
The world’s best artists and writers had to get their imagination from somewhere – why not from storybooks? You never know what seed you’ll plant when you start your kids young.
6. It helps children understand our world
You can jokingly call kids “pint-sized reporters”: they ask who, what, when, where and why on a regular basis because they want to know the world in which they live, and how they fit into it. Reading stories helps paint that picture, and they learn valuable lessons and cause and effect.
7. It makes reading fun, not a chore
Although school children don’t always love reading assignments, you can make it easier on them by starting them off young. Using visionary imagination helps them problem solve and create new things – whether it’s a “pirate ship” in the backyard, or an award-winning book when they become adults.
Another great perk? You’ll develop a healthy bonding ritual for both you and your kids to enjoy. When screens are put away, just watch your kids’ eyes light up as you read to them. Because imagination is the spice of life.