This week we’re focusing on children and reading by answering some FAQS such as how do kids learn to read? What is its impact on language development? How is ‘screen’ culture changing families? and more….
Many of these Qs came from a panel I participated in for BookSpring in Austin, Texas, a non-profit close to my heart that is spreading awareness of the benefits of reading. Have a question? Send it to us on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll answer it in a future blog.
How do children learn language and ultimately, learn how to read?
It’s pretty simple, really. Young children are sensorimotor learners. That means they explore and learn through their senses—they take in everything they see, hear, touch, and occasionally taste. As such, they learn best from real people and real things, like toys and books.
When it comes to language development, a critical piece is “talk time”. That is the amount of time spent listening and interacting with a caregiver. In the first three years of life that job falls mostly on mom and dad. It may seem insignificant to have a conversation (or monologue) with your baby while you make dinner or while you wander through Costco, but it’s vital and more valuable than parents think.
And, research shows that reading to young children for 30 minutes a day, starting in infancy, prepares children for language learning and school success. They learn the sounds that letters make, they recognize the alphabet and some words, and they have a much broader vocabulary. It seems like a no-brainer, right?
Ari Brown, MD