Story time is an integral part of your newborn’s neurological development to help the hear. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests reading to your child at home starting at birth through at least kindergarten. A 2015 study involving 19 3-5 year old children showed a positive activation of the parietal-temporal-occipital region of the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This area of the brain is associated with mental imagery and narrative comprehension.
Mental imagery and narrative comprehension play key roles in early childhood development. Once a child continues to books without pictures, their ability to imagine the story is easier vs children who aren’t read to at an early age.
The newborn brain is like a tree trunk. With water and fertilizer, the tree is able to grow and produce strong limbs, but without water and fertilizer, the limbs become weak. Weak limbs are pruned. A newborn brain has a full set of neurons and synapses/connections. These synapses can strengthen and grow till the age of 3, but without optimal stimulation (like listening to parents reading), half of these synapses/connections could be lost by age 15. Reading to your newborn is beneficial to the parent too. A study involving preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) showed parents reading to their newborn gave the parent a sense of normalcy, intimacy, and control. Post discharge from the NICU, parents felt a stronger connection to their newborn as opposed to parents that did not read to their children in the NICU.
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