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Reading with Preschool Children Improves more than Literacy and Language

A study published in 2018 has revealed that parents who read with their preschool children might not just be aiding their language and literacy development, but could also be setting the foundation for better behavior in the future and improved emotional health.

According to the report circulated by Reuters, researchers from the University of Hong Kong examined data from 18 previously published studies that included 3,264 families from a variety of backgrounds. Results showed that kids who participated in reading programs had better social and emotional skills, behavior and literacy than children who didn’t. Parents in the reading programs also had less stress and anxiety and more confidence in their parenting skills than parents who didn’t participate in these interventions, the study, published in Pediatrics revealed.

“Reading to children is not only for having a smart child but also for having a happy child and a good parent-child relationship as well,” lead study author Qian-Wen Xie, of the University of Hong Kong, was quoted as telling Reuters. Xie added that some parents may not realize it’s important for them to read aloud with kids from a very young age. Even when they know reading matters, parents might be pressed for time, unable to afford books, or unfamiliar with interactive reading techniques that can make the biggest impact on cognitive, social, emotional and behavioral development.

Independent backing of the research came from Dr. Caroline Kistin, a pediatrics researcher at Boston University School of Medicine who wasn’t involved in the study. She told Reuters that despite limitations of the study, the results offer fresh evidence that early literacy programs have the potential to improve wellbeing for parents and children, regardless of race, income or gender, said “Shared reading supports child cognitive development, helps children develop the ability to pay attention and cooperate, and serves as a bonding opportunity for parents and children,” Kistin said.

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