Informed Families Catalyst

The Many Benefits of Reading to Kids

Posted by Informed Families on June 11, 2021 at 7:00 AM

What one single parenting activity can:

  • aid children’s social and emotional development?
  • improve their academic chances?
  • build independence and self-confidence?
  • teach them about relationships, personalities, and their place in the world?
  • support cognitive development?
  • increase self-discipline and attention span?
  • build stronger emotional bonds between you?

The answer is: reading to them.

What the studies show

There are many studies that show the sometimes surprising benefits of reading to kids from the time they are infants.

For instance, one from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that children whose parents read to them from infancy to age three showed significantly less aggression, inattention, and hyperactive behavior by the time they entered kindergarten.

The lead author of that study told The New York Times, “When parents read with their children more . . . they learn to use words to describe feelings that are otherwise difficult, and this enables them to better control their behavior when they have challenging feelings like anger or sadness.”

Another 2019 study used MRI images of children’s brains to gauge the impact of reading on the brain’s white matter, which is used in developing learning skills and cognitive abilities. It found an increase in language, literacy, and cognitive skills in those children whose caregivers regularly read to them.

Pediatricians encourage reading


Because a significant amount of brain development occurs in the first three years of a child’s life, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) strongly encourages reading aloud to children from the time they are infants. In 2014 the Academy issued a policy statement encouraging parents to undertake this activity with their children daily.

“Read to children and with children is a very joyous event and a way of fostering a relationship, as well as [helping] language development,” said Pamela High, a pediatrician and lead author of the policy statement.

“And we don’t have to wait until we’re getting them ready for school,” she added. “We can make it part of regular routine.”

Topics: education, children

About Us

We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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