Guest Post: Do regular reading habits feed children’s brain development?

Guest Post 1

We are on a break… Meawhile, here is a guest post from Christopher Austin who is a tech writer and loves reading books. His favorite hobby is reading eBooks and is his “go to” site to get a variety of books at the same place.

Do regular reading habits feed children’s brain development?

As a parent, you are the first teacher for your children. They will start learning from the minute they are born; this can be to mimic behavior, learn to speak and even how to read. There is plenty of research supporting the strong link between how much a child is read to and how successful they will be in school and in later life.

Photo Credit: ThomasLife / Flickr

Active brain development and improved vocabulary

Children develop their capacity for learning in the first three years of their life. This is when their brains expand the most rapidly and will reach up to ninety percent of the adult size. The ability to read is not directly connected to the intelligence of a child; it is a result of the experiences a child has been exposed to. Children who are frequently read to become better readers because they are exposed to a larger vocabulary than they would ordinarily be exposed to through verbal communication alone.

The more a child is read to and encouraged to read, the greater the development of their creative and emphatic neurological pathways in their brains. This is also relevant the other way round! The more vocabulary you expose your child to the more likely they will be to read and learn more; it is all key to developing their brains.


Reading to your child and encouraging them to read will stimulate their imagination and help them to see the world through their own eyes. Imagination is exceptionally important as it allows people to think outside of the box and arrive at solutions to problems which may not have been discovered.

it's in a book
Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton / Flickr

TV vs books

Research has been conducted on the amount of time spent by the average child watching television – it is a staggering thirty hours a week! In contrast, many children read an average of only 40 minutes a day! Whilst TV does have a use as entertainment and even an educational source it is not as effective as reading when it comes to preparing your child for future life. TV viewing is usually passive without much interaction – this does little to stimulate a child’s intellectual muscles. A book, on the other hand, can reach all the senses as it transports the reader to another world.

How much reading?

Research supports that the more children read, the higher their test scores will be, therefore, the ideal answer should be “as much as possible”. A realistic recommendation, however, is for a parent to spend at least thirty minutes a day reading to their child. This should be in addition to any reading done at school. For parents who are struggling to meet these requirements, remember that there are friends and family members who can help. There are also wonderful audio book resources that can provide additional reading support for children.


It is never too late to start reading to your children and improving their brain development. The following tips can help you to make the most of every opportunity:

Child Reading
Photo Credit: Chris Parfitt / Flickr
  • Look for childcare providers that are willing to spend time reading to your children.
  • Talk to your children because the more you talk, the more your children will be exposed to vocabulary and sentence structure; this is not only beneficial for your children’s developing reading skills but also for their intellectual development.
  • Speak to their teachers to find out how well your children are reading at school and what you can do to improve this. Regular assessment with your children will ensure they make the most of every opportunity.
  • Be the example for your child – one of the best ways to encourage a child to read is for them to see you reading. You are your child’s greatest role model!
  • Keep lots of books around the house – these can be bought in second-hand shops, donated by friends and families and borrowed from the library. The more books you make available to your child, the more likely they are to read them. This works especially if you can find the time to do it with them!

Parents shouldn’t force their kids to read a certain genre of books. Let them make the call! Be a role model for your child – show them that you read books, too. Encourage their curiosity by reading to them aloud every evening, and gradually, they will grow up with a fond appreciation for literature.

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 (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (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.

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