Developing a Reading Brain

Yesterday I posted five very good reasons why your child should read, and how you could engage in reading together. Besides providing precious bonding time between you and your keiki, encouraging your child to read is scientifically proven to help your child’s brain develop and mature in ways that might surprise you.

So, read on for Part 2 of my reading series this week! Here are five more reasons why your kid should get his or her nose into the pages of a book, starting from number six. For the first five, take a look at Tuesday’s post to catch up.

6. Memory

After your child finishes a book, encourage them to retell the story. “What was the story about?” you can ask. “Who was the main character? How did the story end?” Engaging them in casual memory recall exercises like these can help your child to strengthen his or her brain’s memory – the ability to store information and ideas. This ability is essential for word recognition, comprehension of complex sentences and remembering instructions.


7. Attention


Fluent reading skills require sustained and focused attention. Set aside a time for your child to read. Hopefully, if your child enjoys reading, this should be no problem. But for kids who may dislike reading, try setting easy goals for them. For example, give them a distraction-free room that’s quiet (means no TV or Internet!) and ask them to read for 15 minutes or more. Setting aside this time can increase their attention span, and strengthen their ability to focus on information and tasks, while ignoring distractions.


8. Processing


Processing during reading will help your child distinguish and associate individual speech sounds with their corresponding letter and word forms. Fun and simple listening games, such as identifying sounds in words that sound like something else (e.g., the 's' sounds like a hissing snake), can help your child’s ear to capture and interpret sounds clearly and accurately.


9. Sequencing


During reading, your child needs sequencing skills to maintain the order of letters within words or words within a sentence. Try creating picture stories, where the order of the images is used to tell the story is an effective way. Or, for little ones learning how to spell, mixing up letter tiles and having them unscramble the letters to form a word can be a fun game to play.


10. Early intervention



This is possibly the most important thing for children to develop a reading brain. Despite what many people think, the love of reading is not something that comes automatically – you as the parent have to start early to help your kids have a good, strong reading brain. Start reading to your child even from when he or she is just a couple months old. It’s never too early to start, and the good news is, it’s also never too late to begin either!