It’s a Family Affair: Reading Out Loud

Connecting the dots – what we know about the developing brain and reading aloud.

It’s tough to look inside the brain of a child. But sophisticated brain imaging techniques are starting to give us some ideas about brain development. And there is no doubt that reading to a your child, toddler, preschooler and infant is associated with good outcomes. Specifically, children who have consistent reading aloud to them, have higher literacy rates. No amount of school reform, no level of teacher training can ever duplicate what you do with your children at bedtime on the weekend, whenever you have a chance, to prepare them for literacy by reading aloud.

The journal Pediatrics published a study that studied brain activity in preschoolers as they listened to children’s stories. Differences in brain activation correlated with how much the children had been read to at home. Not surprising to us, at Honey Bear Preschool and Child Care, we have a saying: Education, It’s a Family Affair.

The children who were read to at home showed much greater activation of brain areas in a region of the left hemisphere.

The very same area that is active when older children read to themselves. It lights up when preschoolers listen to stories. Preschoolers who were exposed to more books and home reading had a lot more activity in the areas of the brain that process visual association.

It’s Visual

As we all know, preschoolers are highly visual and when they are just listening to a story, they are able to imagine the scene and scenery. For example, ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ is fun because the child is engaged with thinking about the impossible – green eggs – and oh how much fun that is.

Children who have more practice in creating visual images, when they listen to stories, develop skills that will help them make learning reading much easier. In fact, here at Honey Bear we think that the head start that a top of the line preschool gives a child, cannot be made up later in life when the brain is more fully set.

It’s Interactive

Reading aloud in our classes, is highly interactive, our children sit in a group and our teacher has a “conversation” with the students as they listen to and respond t our stories says Michelle Parker, one of the owners of the Honey Bear Preschool. “It helps them visualize, and in the transition to reading which happens with the older preschoolers here at Honey Bear ” she said. “Later they are better readers because of all the prep work that we and our parents (at home) have done. Remember: “Reading, It’s a Family affair” (Even and especially in preschool. So cut down on screen time and ramp up on read aloud time.

It’s Educational

It is important that our preschoolers listen to stories, and and the parents read them those stories. Reading to — and with — young preschooler will magnify the language they hear. Picture books contain a different set of words than those of parents BECAUSE they are written by different people. This larger set of words than child and parents use together is enriching and a truly satisfying experience for the child. At Honey Bear, our children who are being read to by caregivers are hearing vocabulary words that preschoolers who are not being read to are not hearing.

Studies show that parents who read more, have children who’s preschool vocabularies grow more. So when you next visit your pediatrician, bring some books and see what your doctors has to offer in the way of advice.

Early reading aloud is key to your child’s development.

Related: It’s a Family Affair: Reading That Is
Related: Education: It’s a Family Affair


Read more about our views on Family Education, Child Care, Kids Health and more and find out what makes Honey Bear Preschool and Child Care Center different from all the others!

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