Reading with kids helps speed up mental, social development

As stay-at-home orders become more common, parents are asked to keep their children reading. Those who read more usually are more mentally and socially developed, an Extension agent notes.

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Lifestyle

March 31, 2020 - 10:17 AM

Jessy Coffield, preschool teacher, reads to children at Ready Set Learn preschool Wednesday as Sheri Orear, owner, watches. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library recognizes the value of reading to children from birth to age 5 and will now send free, high-quality books to every child in Allen County each month, courtesy of the Iola Rotary Club and Talk, Read, Play Allen County. Photo by Vickie Moss

What we have discovered through the COVID-19 situation — social distancing, stay-at-home spring break, and the announcement of schools closing — is that there are many learning opportunities right at our fingertips.   

Bradford Wiles, a K-State Research and Extension specialist in early childhood development, says children’s education happens right at home every time they read a book with their parents. “Reading with a child involves thoughtful and active listening to assess and assist the child’s knowledge,” Wiles said. 

Wiles has written a publication that outlines six ways in which parents can build their child’s cognitive and social-emotional skills while reading with them: 

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