5 Reasons to Read Stories to your Children
by Amanda Espy, MFT Intern
Supervised by: Marilee Hartling, RN, MFT
- Neurological Benefit. “There’s a clear indication of a neurological difference between kids who have been regularly read to and kids who have not,” says Dr. G. Reid Lyon. (1) Electronic images of the brains of children considered as “poor readers” show little activity in the verbal-processing areas. But after the researchers spent one to two hours a day for eight weeks reading to them and performing other literacy exercises with them, their brain activity had changed to look like that of the “good readers.”
- Strengthens Parent/Child Bond. (4) Reading with your children also provides a perfect environment for snuggles, which makes a child feel safe. Slowing down to enjoy the comfort of a book can model finding safe and healthy self-comfort for the child later in life.
- Communicates Values. (2) Stories are an effective way to transmit important information and values from one individual or community to the next.Choose stories that contain values important to you, and it will surely lead to conversations about the characters throughout the rest of the day.
- Builds Empathy. Relating to the story of a character in a book can stimulate oxytocin production, which is known as the “moral molecule” (2, 3). Children learn they are not the only ones who hurt, get angry, or experience joy, preparing them for navigating the social world of nuance.
- Leads to Helping Behaviors. Positive stories model positive behavior for children. (2) Children understand ways to respond to difficult emotions or how to act in environments in which they have never been exposed.