A “story time” study conducted by researchers from the Reading and Literacy Discovery Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found that reading to your kids has a biological effect on their brains.
This isn’t the first time that it’s been revealed that reading had positive effects for a child, but it is the “first study to reveal (via real-time MRI scans) that listening to stories read by a mom or dad can actually change a child’s brain biologically,” Yahoo! Parenting reports.
“Reading to kids really changes their brains, even at a very young age,” said Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus, Ph.D., who coauthored the study while serving as the Center’s program director. “This helps prepare them to learn academically and also helps them socially when it comes to interacting with their peers.”
The full story time study will be published in the August 10 issue of the journal Pediatrics. Subjects of the research were 19 children, ages 3 to 5.
The children were made to listen to “prerecorded stories and a variety of sounds,” while their parents were quizzed as to the literary environment in which they were bringing up their youngsters.
For parents who kept a lot of books around the house and read to their children often, the research showed their kids to have more active brains than those who didn’t promote a home reading culture.
“It’s too early to tell if that means kids who are read to at home will have higher IQs, but we can say that being read to engages parts of the brain that contribute to reading comprehension down the road,” said Horowitz-Kraus.
She continued, “There’s no more secure environment for a kid than to be sitting close and reading with a parent. This new research provides evidence that it also helps a child’s developing brain. Everybody wins.”
Still, not everyone is sure it’s the best idea from a social standpoint. A college professor named Adam Swift from the U.K. believes that parents who read to their kids should be mindful of how they’re disadvantaging other children, who aren’t so fortunate.
“I don’t think parents reading their children bedtime stories should constantly have in their minds the way that they are unfairly disadvantaging other people’s children, but I think they should have that thought occasionally.”
What do you think about reading to your kids and, in particular, the findings of the story time study? Should parents do it, or is it, as Swift states, “unfairly disadvantaging” other people’s children?
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