How Reading Helps
How Reading Helps Language Develop
Hand your 6-month-old a board book, and he's more likely to gnaw on the pages than look at them. And reading to a newborn -- he's not going to get it, so is it worth the time? The short answer is yes, says Caroline J. Blakemore, coauthor of Baby Read-Aloud Basics (AMACOM). Reading to your child -- even if he doesn't seem riveted by the story, at least not yet -- improves listening skills, attention span, and memory, Blakemore says. It also helps children understand the meanings of words and learn uncommon ones. "Compared with ordinary talk between a child and parent, children's books have three times more rare words," she adds. Consider the word "cocoon" in Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar -- there's a word you probably don't use every day. (Same goes for "caterpillar," for that matter.) In fact, by age 4, children who are read to are exposed to 32 million more words than children who haven't been exposed to books.
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