The value of reading to kids is now visible

Recent studies from the Reading & Literacy Discovery Center of Cincinnati’s Children’s Hospital were the first to provide neurobiological evidence of the potential benefits of reading to children age five and younger and the potential detriments of screen time on the development of such youngsters’ brains.

Images released with the study indicated substantial growth in organized white matter in the language and literacy areas of the brains of children who were read to during the highly formative first five years of their lives. That’s important, as the study noted that white matter is comprised of fibers that form connections between brain cells and the nervous system. Increasing and organizing that white matter, which reading to youngsters facilitates, increases the brain’s functionality and ability to learn.

While the study noted the value of reading to children age five and younger, it also showed how children who spent an average of two hours a day playing on screens were adversely affected by that behavior. In images of such children’s brains, white matter was considerably underdeveloped and disorganized, which can contribute to slow processing and learning difficulties.

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