Reading and Using Books with Young Children Activates the Brain in Unique Ways


The American Academy of Pediatrics recently published information about a study that involved reading behaviors of low-income parents with preschoolers from ages 3-5. Scans of brain activity compared what happened when the preschoolers listened to recordings of books being read aloud with brain activity from sharing books with a parent at home.

“Results showed that greater home reading exposure was strongly associated with activation of specific brain areas supporting semantic processing (the extraction of meaning from language). These areas are critical for oral language and later for reading….The associations between home reading exposure and brain activity remained robust after controlling for household income.”

They concluded that

 “Greater parent-child reading during early childhood is associated with increased activation of brain areas involved with visual imagery and applying meaning to language in preschool children listening to stories, independent of SES. To our knowledge, this is the first study applying fMRI in this age range in the context of home reading environment to assess brain networks supporting emergent literacy, providing neural biomarkers for future studies of reading development and intervention”

To read the AAP’s news release, click here.

To read the article abstract, click here.


About Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen

A renowned national speaker and accomplished author, Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen is best known as the creator of Mother Goose on the Loose, an award-winning early literacy program. Her charismatic presentations always include an easily-understandable combination of research and practice. Recognized by the ASCLA Leadership and Professional Achievement Award for “revolutionizing the way librarians work with children from birth to age 3” and the 2018 Vattemare Award for Creativity in Libraries, Betsy’s passion is for helping children and the adults in their lives be the best they can be while sparking a love of reading.