Healthy Kids    

The Power of Story Time



Plus recommendations from the American Library Association

story time for kids important


Parent-child reading has been widely advocated as a way to promote cognitive development, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has made recommendations that parents begin this practice at birth. While parent-child reading has been shown in some behavioral studies to improve oral language and print concepts, quantifiable effects on the brain have not been studied until recently.

In the September 2015 issue of Pediatrics, authors studied nineteen 3- to 5-year old children in a longitudinal study to examine the relationship between brain activity and parent-child reading.  The article was titled “Home Reading Environment and Brain Activation in Preschool Children Listing to Stories.”

READ MORE: Reading develops listening skills and models conversations.

The children underwent a functional MRI scan for this study.  They wore headphones that allowed them to listen to age-appropriate, pre-recorded stories read in a female voice while being scanned. The results of this study demonstrated a strong, positive association between a measure of home reading environment (involving frequency of reading, access to books, and the variety of books read) and brain activation during story listening. Children who came from more stimulating home reading environments had greater activity in brain areas that supports visual imagery and narrative comprehension (both of these are important for reading and language).

Children who enter school with poor literacy skills are at a significant disadvantage.  It is often unlikely for them to catch up if not addressed early.  The findings from this study strongly suggest that the enhanced cognitive stimulation that comes through reading can result in improved academic achievement and even overall health.

Not sure what to read with your kids?  Check out this list of notable children’s books for 2016 from the American Library Association.

READ MORE: How to raise successful, independent readers


Other articles by Children's Medical Group


  • 115 people die every day from opioid abuse

    Know the dangers, protect your teen

    Every day, approximately 115 people die from opioid overdose. Learn about the dangers of these commonly abused drugs and how you can help your teen. read more »
  • Growing up Gender Non-Conforming or Transgender

    Help your child develop their gender identity

    As a parent, your responsibility is to make sure you provide your children with the tools they need to grow into healthy, happy adults. Gender is a huge part of your child's identity. Help them express their true selves! read more »
  • Asthma, the flu, and your family

    Is your family prepared?

    We're in the peak of cold and flu season here in the Hudson Valley. Our friends at Children's Medical Group share insights on dealing with asthma, the flu, and more! read more »
  • Improving Your Teen’s Performance in School

    Strategies to help your teen succeed

    Helping your teenager’s performance in school can be a challenge! It involves considerable patience, oversight, and perseverance. Supporting your child’s physical and mental health so she or he can do their best at school is essential, and often paves their way for future successes in college or in the workplace. Here are some strategies to consider as you seek to help your teenager. read more »
  • Bedtime routines for your school-aged kids

    Changing schedules from summer to school are not always easy.

    With the summer coming to a close it may be hard for your kids to change their routine from summer fun to a school regimen. Here are some easy to use tips that will make the transition easier. read more »
  • Family-Friendly Flying

    Keep your family safe in the air

    Once you have a child, even the most routine travels become an adventure in parenting. While flying with your baby isn’t the easiest method, many young babies do travel well in flight. Here are some tips on keeping your family safe while flying. read more »
  • Winter Fun While Staying Safe

    Best ways to prevent accidents on ice or snow

    It's easy for kids to get hurt while sledding, skating or snowboarding. Check our some some easy to follow tips that will make having fun less painful. read more »
  • What do I do about my son's constant "summer colds"?

    Dr. Marc Habert of Children's Medical Group answers the question

    Q. My son seems to have one “summer cold” after another. I’m beginning to wonder if it could be an allergy. How do I tell the difference, and what can I do to help him get through the summer months? A. Allergies are by far the most common chronic diseases among children in the US. They are caus... read more »
  • Heat Related Illnesses

    How to Keep Your Child Safe During the Hottest Weather

    When it comes to heat related illnesses, which can become quite serious, prevention is the best medicine – and to make sure children drink enough fluids, as well as take breaks to rest in the shade (or wet themselves down). read more »
  • I have heard that there is a measles outbreak in New York. Is measles really very serious?

    Measles was nearly eliminated from the US until a few recent outbreaks.  The vaccine has been so effective that most people have no idea just how serious and highly contagious this disease is.  Before the vaccine was developed, 400-500 people would die of measles in the US every year. ... read more »