Make sure you are reading to your children

ALBERT LEA, Minn. – You may have been told in the past that reading to your child can help their development. Now an organization is trying to emphasize it even more.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now having doctors encourage parents to read aloud to their children, even at the earliest stages.

They say it is an important part of the brain’s development in the first three years of a child’s life.

“It can be such a simple thing that has such a huge impact on our children and how they learn and our relationships with them that, anything that we can continue to do to encourage that and to instill that love of reading and that experience with books with our kids is so important,” said Mayo Clinic Health System – Albert Lea and Austin Pediatrician Dr. Heidi Stoltenberg.

It can enhance vocabulary and other communication skills. Stoltenberg said it is never too early to start.

“It may seem kind of unusual because we don’t necessarily think of babies as being an age where you would read to them, but immediately when you come home from the delivery of your baby is a great time to start that,” Stoltenberg said.

Studies have shown that poverty level plays a major role in parents who read to their children. Many times, that is simply because the families cannot afford books or other things to read.

There are many resources in our area to help those families get access to reading material. The United Way of Freeborn County, and many others across the region, have teamed up with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. Many local hospitals, including Mayo Clinic Health System – Albert Lea and Austin, also take part in Reach Out and Read.

Stoltenberg said it is also as simple as supporting your local library.

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