When their eyes light up—
Updated: Mar 16, 2020
The wonderful experience of reading to and with your child is one of the most important, and loving things you can do as a parent. I remember when my children and I were reading together, I would see a light come on in their eyes. That was one of the best feelings I had as a parent. There may have been a puzzle or a question in the story to solve and when I would see that light I would think, he or she gets it.
Researchers discovered that reading stimulates the side of the brain that helps with mental imagery, understanding, and language processing, and that brain activity, while hearing stories, was higher in the children who were read to at home more often. Some children are prone to anxiety, ADHD, and other conditions. Reading keeps their brains active and engaged and can help fend off these disorders. Studies at the University of Sussex in England showed that reading is also a major form of stress relief. The study followed volunteers who were tasked with trying a series of stress-reduction methods – with reading surpassing listening to music and going for a walk as being the most effective method. Reading was shown to reduce stress levels by 68%, according to their findings. (ParentCo., February 20, 2017)
Give the child a picture and they have something to work with. With illustrations they don't have to do as much work as without it. Most importantly, with an illustrated book, researchers saw increased connectivity between — and among — all the networks of the brain: visual perception, imagery, default mode and language. When we read to our children, their brains are doing more than meets the eye. It's an important muscle they're developing, bringing the images to life in their minds. (NPR-Ed, May 24, 2018)
I knew, from the beginning, I wanted my books to have wonderful illustrations. I didn’t know at that time just how they would help my readers brains develop, I just thought I can’t have a children’s book without pictures.
I heartily encourage you to read with your children or grandchildren. I include nieces and nephews and any other children in your lives in reading time. Set aside a time of the day or evening just for reading; that way your child will look forward to it every day.