Babies are born ready to learn and their early brain development is phenomenal. Ninety days after birth their brains have increased by 64% to reach half their adult size. That’s an awful lot of neural connections being formed in a short space of time.
There have been many studies showing that babies who are read to regularly by their caregivers have increases in these connections. The increase is particularly notable in the left-hand region of their brain which is the area used in the extraction of meaning from language.
Children whose parents read aloud to them show an increased vocabulary and their understanding of these words is better. Sharing a regular story time is also a predictor of how easily a child may to learn to read.
Studies using mri imagining show that when people read words such as ‘lavender’ or ‘coffee’ it activates areas of the brain concerned with our sense of smell. Other research had participants read the chapter of Harry Potter where Harry learns to fly on the broomstick which resulted in activity in the part of the brain we use to process actions and intentions. All these complicated connections come from listening to a lot of stories.
Of course, books tell stories, and humans are born programmed to listen. A scary story will flood the body with the stress hormone cortisol, just as though the threat was real and happening to us in real life. A soothing story promotes oxytocin release, to give you that warm and fuzzy feeling … just what your little one needs at bedtime.
Some books about brain development.
Some great books to read with your baby.
There’s such a lot going on inside your baby when you read him a story and it all adds up to lots of fun. So, open a book and get reading today.