The Importance Of Reading Aloud To Children
May 17, 2008
From the study “Reading Aloud To Children: The Evidence” by Elisabeth Duursma EdD, Marilyn Augustyn MD and Barry Zuckerman MD published in May in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood: “Promoting healthy child development lies at the heart of pediatric practice, yet a major challenge facing the field is applying “evidence based standards” to our practice. In one area of this effort though, reading aloud to children, the evidence is clear. There is ample research demonstrating that reading aloud to young children promotes their development of language and other emergent literacy skills (e.g., Adams, 1990; Sénéchal & Levre, 2002; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998; Storch & Whitehurst, 2001) which in turn helps children getting ready for school (e.g., Ezell & Justice, 2005; Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998).
“You can imagine if someone technologically came up with a widget that would stimulate all aspects of a two-year-old’s development, everyone would want to buy it,” said Boston University School of Medicine professor Barry Zuckerman, who led the study. See the full article in the Guardian.
Studies show that children who are read to from an earlier age have better language development and tend to have better language scores later in life. Getting children to grip pages with their thumb and forefinger improves their motor skills.
Most important, though, said Zuckerman, is that reading aloud is a period of shared attention and emotion between parent and child. This reinforces reading as a pleasurable activity.
“Children ultimately learn to love books because they are sharing it with someone they love,” he said.