Science Proves Reading To Kids Really Does Change Their Brains

According to the Huffington Post, Pediatricians often recommend parents routinely read aloud to their young children. Research shows that reading aloud to children activates the parts of their brains that help with mental imagery and understanding narrative. This is key for the development of language and literacy.

“There have been a good number of studies that have [found] empirical evidence that reading to kids does have an impact on things such as literacy and oral language readiness,” Dr. Thomas DeWitt, director of the division of general and community pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, told the Huffington Post. “But prior to this study, we really have not been able to [answer], ‘Does it have an impact biologically on brain function?’”

According to the Huffington Post, researchers looked at the brains of 19 3- to 5-year-olds using MRI. They scanned the children’s brains while they listened recordings of a woman reading stories, as well as while they listened to background noise, in order to see how their brains responded when faced with different types of stimulation. They also gathered information about how stimulating the children’s home reading environments were, which they assessed by asking about things like how frequently they were read to and whether they were exposed to a variety of books. 

The results from the MRIs showed 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. Their brains showed greater activity in those key areas while they listened to stories.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been a long time advocate for reading at home throughout infancy and early childhood. They argue that it can improve language skills, foster literacy development and help with other less tangible qualities. "Parents who spend time reading to their children create nurturing relationships, which is important for a child’s cognitive, language and social-emotional development,” the AAP has said. 

Community Well believes that reading to your children is important and makes a big difference in their development. Swing by our Growing with Books class every Wednesday to not only read with your baby, but also try out early Spanish immersion! The class is an excellent way to begin reading to your child and exposing them to a new language as well.