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The Importance of Reading with Your Child

Published in Pediatrics, For the Health of It Author: Jill Amsberry,DO

Though winter’s coziness is ending, it is always a great time to grab a book and read with your child. Research has shown spending time reading with children improves their language and listening skills and promotes healthy brain development. Reading together has been proven to create strong bonds between parents and children.

It’s never too early to start reading to your child. Modeling good reading behaviors during the first few years of a child’s life will help them develop healthy reading habits later in life. Did you know that reading to your newborn will help their social and language development? Your baby is like a sponge and hears the way you use different intonations and inflections in your voice. They model this behavior as they develop their communication skills.

Toddlers love to read with their families. When choosing a book to read with your toddler, consider a picture book with various colors. You may want something made from cardboard that’s a bit sturdier. This age group will want to reach out and interact with your child. If your child has difficulty keeping their attention on the book, try more interactive books like those with finger puppets or with a surprise behind the flaps.

Children who read independently also benefit from reading with a loved one. Your child can participate in the reading by alternating chapters or pages with the adult reader. It might be fun to start a family book club. Let your child be part of the selection process and discuss the book together. You can use this as a bonding tool and a conversation starter.

Reading to your child doesn’t have to cost you anything. Try checking out a book at your local public library or a neighborhood Free Little Library. CentraCare – Plaza Clinic Pediatrics has a Little Free Library outside the pediatric clinic intended to help with improving early childhood literacy in the community.

Thanks to the extraordinary gifts provided by Karlie’s Fund, CentraCare Pediatrics has the honor of providing books to our patients through Karlie’s Fund and the Read Out and Read Foundation. Reach Out and Read is a foundation that helps improve literacy and healthy relationships by providing a free book at well-child visits from 6 months through 5 years. This program has now been incorporated throughout our healthcare system, so all children receive a book at their well care visits through CentraCare.