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This transcript has been edited for readability, grammar, and punctuation.
Jan 3, 2011
Has your toddler just learned the alphabet? Then this is the perfect time to introduce him/her to the wonderful world of books. In this time of personal computers and the Internet, many of us consider books to be things of the past. However, they still play a crucial role in the overall development of a child during the early years of life. Those “educational” toys and “pre-school development” shows on TV may look pretty appealing, but nothing can replace good old books. Here are 10 reasons why books are still important for a child’s development:
1. The more books children read, the faster their vocabulary is expanded. Books help them to learn new words and new ways of using the words that they already know. This accelerates preschool child development, and also improves their soft skills in the long run.
2. Reading books to children at bedtime is a wonderful bonding experience that nourishes emotional development. Parents can also help the child relate the incidents in the story to real events in their lives.
3. Encouraging a love of books in toddlers is a great way to prepare them for the school environment and to adapt to the concept of daily schoolwork.
4. Reading books regularly stimulates children’s imagination, accelerates their emotional development and fosters natural curiosity. Children quickly learn to visualize the scenarios mentioned in the stories by reading the text alone. This type of development works even better if a parent assists in the process. According to a recent research conducted by author Jim Trelease, regular reading of books “creates empathy toward other people, because literature values humanity and celebrates human spirit and potential, offering insight into different lifestyles while recognizing universality”.
5. As children read different books, their knowledge on various subjects increases multifold. In addition, everything that they learn at this age stays in their mind for a long time to come. This can help them become better students in school.
6. Reading books improves a child’s attention span. Books with colorful pictures work even better than text-only books.
7. Reading can successfully replace TV as a source of entertainment, especially if the child is introduced to preschool books as soon as he/she learns the alphabet. Reading helps children utilize their time in a more constructive manner.
8. Children who learn to read at an early age have a better chance of getting a job later in life. They also perform much better than those who grew up watching TV and playing games on computers. In a recent speech, renowned author/illustrator Rosemary Wells pointed out that, “a young child’s growing mind needs active play and live conversation. Television puts a child into what neurologists call the passive Alpha state. A child cannot learn from screens because programs are meant to sell products not to teach”.
9. A parent reading to his/her toddler often becomes a role model in the child’s mind. In this way, the child learns to be more obedient toward parents.
10. Developing the habit of reading regularly from an early age helps the child cope better with the rigors of academic education later on. Allowing your child to watch a few pre-school shows on TV isn’t a bad thing to do. However, reading books is a very important activity that no child should be deprived of during the early years of his/her life. Read a book to your child today. It will go a long way in forging a lifelong bond between you and your toddler.
“The most important thing that parents can do is talk and read to their children. During the toddler and preschool years, it is critical to provide children with different language and reading experiences.” (G. Reid Lyon, Ph.D., Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch within the National Institute of Child Healthy and Human Development)
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