Reading aloud to children now has proven scientific benefits. According to a recent study published in Pediatrics, “MRIs revealed that children from more stimulating home reading environments had greater activity in the parts of the brain that help with narrative comprehension and visual imagery,” the Huffington Post reports. In addition to building stronger language and reading skills, the brain scans prove that reading to young children also helps them form memories and new connections. The study shows concrete, biological evidence of what educators and researchers have long suspected: reading offers tangible, long-lasting benefits for young Americans.
Now that parents have scientific proof that they can directly foster children’s literacy, they can also help reverse a disturbing trend. According to “a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Education and National Institute of Literacy in 2013… 14% of the population couldn’t read, more than 20% of adults read below a 5th grade reading level, and 19% of high school graduates had low literacy,” ThinkProgress.org writes. Having caretakers regularly read to children and having books in homes not only improves literacy, it also is directly linked to higher academic performance.
The benefits do not end there, however. Researchers add that parents or guardians who read to children also have stronger relationships with their kids, and these kids tend to form stronger social relationships with other people as well.
With all of this in mind, the next logical question is: When should parents start reading to their children? Kids are never too young. For maximum benefits and proficiency in reading later in life, parents should start reading to children from birth. Whether it’s sharing picture books during a quiet moment with toddlers or finding great novels for middle school students, parents need to spend some time helping foster a love of literature in their kids.
Only 20% of high school seniors read on a day-to-day basis, but — with a little extra time dedicated to reading aloud and better parenting — we can change that.
“I have personally seen the positive benefits of reading at an early age,” says Scotty Sanders, Author, “Quest of the Keys.” “Some friends of mine made reading a part of their family life, strongly encouraging their kids to read the classics. The kids are all readers today, continuing in the lifestyle that was modeled for them by their parents.”