Right Brain Activities for Home Practice – Part 9: Reading Books

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If words, speech and language are left brain, then shouldn’t reading be a left brain activity? Well, that’s what I would have thought, but apparently reading is encouraged as one of the right brain activities for home practice that parents should do with their children. I have heard that parents who send their children to Shichida are required to read at least 3 books a day to their child (someone correct me if I’m wrong).  Many of the parents in Makoto Shichida’s book also write about reading to their children.  One mother wrote that her son learned to read on his own – all she did was read a lot of books to him.

Well, we all know that reading to our children is good.  It has also been recommended that we read a wide variety of books to our children – not just simple story books intended for children but non-fiction books and the classics which exposes them to the depth of language.  If you follow Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, you would also be aware that she was against reading “twaddle” to children (books that were dumbed-down supposedly to make it easier for the children to understand).

Mason believed that twaddle insulted the intelligence of children.  Indeed, if a baby can go from zero words to full communication in two years, who are we to dictate which words are “too complicated” for him to understand?  A baby can decipher the meaning of any word regardless of whether it has one syllable or four.  If a baby can learn how to speak faster than an adult can learn a new language, there is really no reason not to expose him to the richness of language.

Okay, I’m digressing – so…

How does reading help develop the right brain?

I haven’t read anything about this, but this is what I think…  When you read books, you’re activating your child’s imagination.  Imagination and fantasy is part of the right brain, therefore, when you read a book to your child, you inevitably engage the right brain.  If reading pictures books are great for developing your child’s imagination and right brain, then surely reading books without pictures would be even better because your child has to imagine the scenes from the book in his head.  This would be exactly like imaging which is one of the fundamental right brain activities.  Picture-less books like novels and audio books are great for this.

Audio books are also great for playing in the car to keep your child occupied while you drive.  It kills three birds with one stone: you fulfill two right brain activities – reading and imaging – and you keep your child entertained.  The BBC recordings of Thomas Stories by Rev W Awdry provided Gavin with hours of entertainment in the car and saved me my sanity.  If you have a Thomas fan as well, then you really have to get this series.  At the time of writing this post, there are six volumes of Thomas Stories available on Audible:

  1. Audio – The Railway Stories
  2. Audio – The Railway Stories, Vol 2
  3. Audio – The Railway Stories Vol 3
  4. Audio – The Little Old Engine
  5. Audio – Percy the Small Engine
  6. Audio – Branchline Engines

If you don’t have a Thomas fan, don’t worry, there are plenty of other audio stories you can download on Audible at very reasonable prices. Alternatively, you can also try these resources:

In conclusion: read as many books as possible to your child.  Read as widely as possible.

More Right Brain Home Practice Activities.

Shichida, Heguru, Right Brain Education

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

5 thoughts on “Right Brain Activities for Home Practice – Part 9: Reading Books

  1. I think Audio Books are just as important as it helps the child develop listening skills. My daughter is very good at a lot of things but listening isn’t her strongest point! She is always talking, not listening!!! And I wish I’d shared more audio books with her earlier!

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  2. Hey there, Did not know that you actually checked out the CM stuff! I just read a book called Reading Magic by Mem Fox and it said that to read at least 3 books a day. By the time you finish reading 1,000 books (which is about 1 year), your child should be able to read! It recommends one favourite book, one familiar and one unknown but if the child wants you to repeat one book 3 times, it is ok. :)…There is also a book called the Read-Aloud Handbook (the first and original book on readings-aloud) and excerpts of the book are available here http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/, no time to read it yet.

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  3. MieVee – Thanks for clarifying. I must have confused my info. Didn’t hear about the high speed bit although I inadvertently read at high speed to Gavin sometimes because I can tell Gareth is getting sick of being cooped up in the playpen and I don’t have much time left before I have to rescue him.

    Hui-Wearn – audio books are great. It’s a fantastic way to expose the children to great literature.

    Mamapumpkin – I think all children have difficulties listening unless there is something in it for them. Gavin can sit very still and listen to Thomas stories, but not when we’re trying to tell him to do something he doesn’t like…

    Irene – haha… I check out everything you tell me 🙂 I find my focus can get a little narrow sometimes so it helps to have you broaden my perspective from time to time – thank you! Will definitely check out the read-aloud handbook, too.

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