Newsletter November – December 2018: Brain Development Starts with TALK. READ. SING.
Reading with your children as a parent and/or caregiver is imperative to their mental and educational development. Literary practice has abundant benefits and is proven to advance children’s performance in school; which ultimately stays with them into adulthood. Parents and caregivers should begin talking, reading and singing to their little ones from the day they are born. Baby’s brains develop swiftly during their early years. Children advance most of their language and speech skills by the time they turn three years old. During all stages of a growing child’s early years, especially zero to 5, reading dramatically affects their literary skills and brain development.
Babies begin to learn about language and words even before they say their first word. “Even though your tiny tot can’t respond to you verbally just yet, she’s listening to every word you say – and her brain is rapidly growing. Connections within the brain, also called synapses, ultimately shape how your child learns, thinks and grows – and they start forming at birth. First 5 California”
As they listen to you speak, they’re making connections and positively advancing their development based on what they see and hear. Although you may think newborns and/or infants are too young to understand, they truly are absorbing the sights, sounds and environment around them. It is for these reasons that talking, reading and singing are crucial to practice early on with babies to ensure their lasting positive development.
Before children learn to read on their own they need proper training. Reading to your child, no matter their age, is all the amazing practice they need to prepare them to eventually read on their own. Pointing out words, pictures, colors and shapes allows them to identify and progress; sound combinations, word associations, increased vocabulary and simple identifications. Once your early learner begins to read on their own they will already have had years of experience and practice under their belt.
Due to California’s established and growing dual language population, the importance of practicing bilingual reading, literacy and speech is amazingly beneficial to the physical and academic development of children. Bilingual picture books are great to read to little ones because it activates various parts of their brain which allows them to associate words and items in dual languages. Best found by research provided by First 5 California, “Learning more than one language at the same time is not confusing to young children. Rather, it helps them develop multiple, but inter-related, language systems, and increased cognitive functions. Dual language learners tend to demonstrate greater working memory, reasoning, flexibility, and problem solving.”
Along with the developmental benefits of reading, the mere act of reading together between little ones and their parents/caregivers is a milestone in itself. The memories made talking, reading and singing together will last a lifetime. Taking the time to sit and read with children is cherished quality time your child will remember as they grow and will potentially share with their little ones when the time comes. These moments and milestones are what create the foundations for healthy relationships and positively lasting learning.
If you are looking for well-illustrated bilingual books to cherish with your children, reach out to First 5 San Diego. First 5 San Diego offers a wide array of bilingual books for parents and their little ones to cherish for FREE. Check out first5sandiego.org to see which community events will be close to you for more information!