Early exposure to language is a critical aspect of a child’s development. Speaking and reading to infants helps their brains become accustomed to word patterns long before they can form sentences themselves.
Read on Arizona has developed the Smart Talk program to encourage parents and caregivers to help young children develop a foundation for language and literacy through conversation. Reading to babies and toddlers is a key component of this approach.
Reading is the Neural Pathway to Success
When adults use language with young children, they are helping the children’s brains develop the neural pathways they need to eventually use language, themselves.
“One of the most essential experiences in shaping the architecture of the developing brain is “serve and return” interaction between children and significant adults in their lives. Young children naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expressions, and gestures, and adults respond with the same kind of vocalizing and gesturing back at them. This back-and-forth process is fundamental to the wiring of the brain, especially in the earliest years.”
This video is from Three Core Concepts in Early Development, a three-part video series from the Center and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.