Gabriella
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Raising A Reader – The Importance of Reading to Kids


children reading
Last night I attended my first local mothers’ club meeting and the guest speaker was a woman from a local non-profit Raising a Reader. I’ve read to the Tiny Dancer since she was about one month old but hearing about the importance of reading to kids made me want to share some of what I learned last night.

The meeting started with comparing two brain scans. The scan on the left is a healthy brain scan while the one on the right is what they call “deprived.” The speaker asked us what we thought the difference was between the two people. The answers from the crowd included hugs/affection, having been read to as children, and one-on-one attention from adults.  The correct answer was … all of them.  The person on the right was an orphan and lacked hugs/affection, having been read to as children, and one-on-one attention from adults.

brain scan orphan abused

She then went on to show the parts of the brain that are active when hearing words, seeing words, speaking words and generating words.  Since different parts of the brain are activated with the different activities it’s important not just to read to kids but to also engage them in speaking, seeing and generating words.

brain scan reading and speaking words

Some of you may be great book readers to your kids, but everyone can improve.  Here are the 3 “Rules for Book Sharing” shared to us by Raising a Reader:

1.  Follow Your Child’s Pace

-Read just one page or the whole book.

-Never force your child to sit and read because it will become a chore.

2.  Make it A Conversation

-Comment:

“Look at that big brown bear!”

-Ask Questions:

“What animal is that?”

“How many __ do you see?”

“Why is that little girl smiling?”

-Respond with More Information:

Child: “Look, mommy! Duck!”

Parent: “You’re right, it’s a yellow duck with a beak.”

3. Have Fun!

-Use silly voices and movement.

-Sing songs.

-Connect stories to the child’s life.

Raising a Reader recommended reading to your children at least 15 minutes a day.  I’m so happy that I started reading to the Tiny Dancer at a young age because she loves books and is constantly coming up to me with a book in her hand saying “Read! Read!”.

If you don’t have lots of books at home don’t forget your local public library!  In addition to having lots of great programs for kids, you can take out books for your children – for free (so long as you return them on time.).  Reading with your child is also a great way to spend some quality time with your little one(s).  I hope this info gives you some ideas on how to make it more fun for you and your kids.

For more information on Raising a Reader please visit rarbayarea.org.

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