Read Across America

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
                                   ~ Emilie Buchwald
For the past 13 years the National Education Association (NEA) celebrates and honors Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2nd with Read Across America.  The goal of this day is to have every child in the U.S. reading in the company of a caring adult.

This is such a great goal.  Reading has so many benefits for a developing brain.   When a child is read to cells in the brain are triggered within seconds.  Some existing connections in the brain are strengthened while new connections are formed.  This helps create a more defined and complex wiring of the brain that will benefit a child for the rest of their life.  Reading to a child is so important that the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that Pediatricians prescribe reading activities to parents during their well child visits. Children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school and the National Commission on Reading found that reading aloud to a child is the single most important intervention for developing literacy skills.

Literacy skills development isn’t the only brain benefit that results from reading to a child.  Even reading to an infant is extremely valuable.  When reading a book, the child has the opportunity for visual stimulation, and hearing words.  A child needs to experience direct language.  Television and DVD’s do not provide the interactive language the brain needs.  The time spent cuddling while reading is also very important.  This closeness helps the brain make valuable connections contributing to healthy emotional development.  Young babies find the sound of the voice reassuring and calming.

Books also provide a way for children to gain new perspectives and learn about people, places and things outside of their immediate environment.  Reading with children also presents the possibility for children to open up about feelings or things that are bothering them in a comfortable way.

Unfortunately only 53% to 58% of children ages 3 to 5 are read to daily.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if 100% of children were read to daily?  “Read Across America” is a great effort toward this goal.  Starting this weekend there are reading events across the country. I invite you to share this information with everyone. Post it on your social networking sites and tell educators or people that have young children.
  • Oh The Places You Will Go Reading- On Saturday February 27, 2010, Target is sponsoring a free reading of Oh The Places You Will Go, along with Dr. Seuss inspired games, activities and giveaways.  To find more information or to find a location near you visit click here.
  • Cat-a-Van – NEA is sponsoring a van touring the country to bring special events to cities across the US.  For more information visit
In addition to attending or sharing any of these events you can still participate in Read Across America on March 2 and then everyday at home!  Below are ideas for activities you can do while reading with your child:

            Brain Insights For Read Across America

            Reading Rockets Tips for Parents of Preschoolers

            Dr. Seuss Activities

If you know of other events or reading activities please share your comments below or email me. It will be wonderful to hear the ideas you have to share. So snuggle up with a favorite book or a fun new one and enjoy. I have a new one I cannot wait to get to myself. Happy Reading!

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February Newsletter: Love-What Does the Brain Have To Do With It?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Check out the February issue of the braininsights newsletter here.  This month's issue focuses on the importance of love and the brain.

Also included is a coupon code for 50% off Love Your Baby Activity Packets.

View past newsletters or sign up to have the free newsletter delivered to your inbox here.

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Brain Development and Reducing Obesity Through Routines!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Routines, sleep, nutrition, and limited (or no) television viewing are necessary for healthy brain development. Because of the positive impact on the brain, each of these essential needs are emphasized in braininsights® packets for every age 0 -5.

The developing brain needs:

• nutrition for energy and to function optimally. Feeding the brain well contributes to children who can attend longer and have calmer behavior.

• sleep to help keep the brain’s chemical systems in balance.

• interactive play rather than television viewing to develop valuable and strong connections between the 100 billion brain cells.

• routines to reduce the effects of stress. Chaos creates stress. It is comforting to the brain to have a schedule and know what to expect next.

The results of a recent study also demonstrate the positive impact these factors have on children’s weight. This study reveals that providing enough sleep, having family meals, or limiting television viewing can have a positive effect on preventing obesity.

Can you share this information with others? Let’s help everyone know how easy to raise children with healthy bodies and minds!

ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2010) — A new national study suggests that preschool-aged children are likely to have a lower risk for obesity if they regularly engage in one or more of three specific household routines: eating dinner as a family, getting adequate sleep and limiting their weekday television viewing time.

In a large sample of the U.S. population, the study showed that 4-year-olds living in homes with all three routines had an almost 40 percent lower prevalence of obesity than did children living in homes that practiced none of these routines.

For healthy brain development ideas and further information go to:

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