The Commission Chair of child brain development organisation First 5 California, George Halvorson, recently revealed evidence which suggests that reading is critical for young children.
Three Key Years
Halvorson recently released his latest book, Three Key Years. In this work, he looks at why reading, talking and singing to children from birth can boost their brain development. He includes statistics which show that there are prominent “gaps in brain development” between children who are isolated and those whose guardians interact with them verbally in the first three years of their lives.
In Three Key Years Halvorson proves that parents can help their children by reading to them allowed when they are during their youngest years. This has inspired the creation of the Books Across America campaign drive, which is designed to deliver books into the hands of needy children. Halvorson recently appeared on national syndicated talk show The Dr Oz Show to promote both Three Key Years and the Books Across America campaign.
Vital brain exercise
Commenting on his findings, Halvorson said: “Children whose brains are exercised in the first three years by parents or caregivers who talk, read and directly interact with each child have stronger brains… The brains of children who are isolated and who do not get that needed exercise in those first three years, when their brain growth is more than 80% completed, are at a major disadvantage. It is extremely difficult to regain that ground for those children once those first key years have passed.”
Halvorson also suggests that there is an average book ownership rate of 12 book per child for high income homes. However, over half of both low income homes and day care facilities for the lowest income youngsters don’t have any books at all. He goes on to note that between birth and kindergarten, adults with higher incomes read to their children at a rate of over 1,500 hours per child. This goes down to less than 30 hours per child for adults in the lowest income homes.
Books Across America
Talking further about Books Across America, Halvorson said: “We know why those gaps [in brain development] exist… That is why the First 5 California campaign Talk. Read. Sing is so important. Our goal is to reach all the moderate-and-low income parents and caregivers in California with this message. With Dr. Oz and Books Across America, we extend our reach across the U.S.”
Going on, he commented: “Talking, reading, and singing to children helps billions of neurons inside the brain make strong connections that last a lifetime… Our goal with Books Across America is to help families and caregivers who do not readily have access to these resources to have books of their own to read to their children, and for all children to have the benefits that come from having strong interactions with a loving adult during those key years.”
Essential formative tool
The earliest period of a child’s life is called the formative years for a reason. This is the time, endless studies show, that a young person learns speech by observing others around them. It makes sense that reading is key to brain development. Not only do books allow children to learn more about the rules of language use, they introduce new people to new ideas and concepts and foster creativity. By reaping these benefits, children are better prepared to engage with the educational system and learn the knowledge necessary to become a well-rounded, productive member of society.
Thank you for reading… Hayim Oshky.