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Storytime a ‘turbocharger’ for a child’s brain

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

“While reading to children has many benefits, simply speaking the words aloud may not be enough to improve cognitive development in preschoolers. A new international study, published in the journal PLOS ONE and led by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, shows that engaging with children while reading books to them gives their brain a cognitive “boost.” Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) found significantly greater brain activation in 4-year-old children who were more highly engaged during story listening, suggesting a novel improvement mechanism of engagement and understanding. The study reinforces the value of “dialogic reading,” where the child is encouraged to actively participate.”(more)

How Reading Aloud to Therapy Dogs Can Help Struggling Kids

KQED News Mind/Shift – Juli Fraga

“Two years ago, principal Diane Lau-Yee grew concerned when she saw how family tragedies were impacting her students at Gordon J. Lau Elementary School in San Francisco’s Chinatown. “Some of the students were acting out their feelings of confusion and anger by starting fights with their peers, while other children shut down and stopped participating in class,” says Lau-Yee. When children are struggling at home, it’s often harder for them to concentrate in school. And if kids experience trauma — such as the death of a family member, divorce or witnessing family or community violence — research shows that kids will have more difficulty tolerating frustration, controlling their impulses and managing their aggression.”(more)

How to bond with your child through reading

The Telegraph – Professor Peter Fonagy

“For anyone in the vastly busy day-to-day, having some time to read together perhaps at the end of the day can create a space for the kind of meeting of minds between parent and child which is developmentally so helpful to children. We take being able to focus for granted. Yet small children need to learn this skill, and they learn best when ‘trained’ by someone they care about. Reading for pleasure with children (going through a book together, talking about it, looking at the pictures) now has solid research evidence showing that it can improve language development and capacity for paying attention and also social and emotional outcomes.”(more)

How ‘Do-Re-Mi’s can help children read better

The Daily Herald – Ashley Mendoza

“You’re used to saying the “ABC”s with your children, but did you know singing the “Do Re Mi”s together can help them read better, too? Research supports music to be helpful in contributing to their development. Reading Rockets, a national multimedia literacy initiative that offers information and resources on how young children learn to read, reports how impactful music is in children’s literacy. According to the Reading Rockets report, “Music promotes language acquisition, listening skills, memory, and motor skills. Songs introduce new words, often ones that rhyme or repeat, which makes them easy to learn. Singing also facilitates bonds between adult and child.” Directly working with music is one way children can partake of the benefits music has on children’s development and literacy.”(more)

21st century or every century?

SmartBlog on Education – Fred Ende

“We hear a lot today about the importance of 21st-century skills, from proponents who say we need to make sure all learners showcase these characteristics, and from critics who say we need to worry less about 21st-century skills, since we’re already 15% into the century, and instead, we should extrapolate what the skills of the 22nd century might be. I think both of these views are correct; there doesn’t have to be an either/or…As we continue moving from one century to the next, I can’t help but wonder if all our focus on skills of the century, misses the opportunity to go back to basics and focus on skills that are timeless. After all, one man’s (or woman’s) 21st-century skill is someone else’s eternal one. Here are three examples:”(more)

Five reasons why you should read aloud to your kids – and pick their favourite book

The Conversation – Ryan Spencer

“As parents know all too well, children love to re-read their favourite books over and over again. While this may feel painfully repetitive to adults, there is something in the text that is bringing children back time after time. Children benefit greatly from re-reading as they learn the rhyming or predictable pattern of the text – rather than spending that time trying to understand what the book’s about. Research shows that repeated reading of favourite books can boost vocabulary by up to 40%. But this is only truly beneficial when the text is read aloud.”(more)