Positive Parenting Newsfeed—a Child Trends Project—is Supported by the National Science Foundation

How Adults Read to Children Matters As Much As What They Read

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – There are many benefits of reading to your child! Reading can boost early brain development and help build language, literacy, and social skills. But research suggests that how you read to your child may impact what they get out of it.

Animals that talk, kids who fly, and caterpillars that never get full—children’s books sure do rouse the imagination! But new research suggests that kids may be able to use story time to solve real-world problems. A paper published in the journal Cognition found that five- and six-year-olds were better able to identify and apply the moral of a story when they were prompted to explain key events in the book, but not when an adult pointed out the moral for them.

Parents can help kids recognize the moral of the story by asking them questions as the story unfolds. Asking a child “why?” leads them to look beyond surface details and events of the story. This helps the child relate the character to what they know about the real world, instead of just learning about the fictional character. This way, children are more likely to learn a lesson about the world around them.

A recent survey found that fewer than half of all parents read aloud to their kids every day.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

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