Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if 100% of children were read to daily? 

Reading offers numerous 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 throughout life. 

The time spent cuddling while reading is also very important.This closeness helps the brain make valuable connections contributing to healthy emotional development. It is ideal to begin sharing books with infants. A love of books begins when children are exposed to reading early.

Since the brain learns through repetition, children love having favorite books read again and again. This leads to strong language skills. Listening to stories also contributes to the development of the ability to pay focused attention and filter out distractions.  

In honor of Read Across America Day, the following fun activity ideas are centered around the book, The Cat in the Hat with insights into how they help support brain development. These activities provide additional learning opportunities to enhance reading. They are designed for the way children learn best……. Having fun with you!

For more brain development activities for everyday life go to

O – 1 Year Olds
Show the baby pictures in the book. Point to and name the object in the pictures.

Brain Insight: A child’s language development is based on the amount of language heard in the first three years. A child needs to hear direct language to develop language skills. TV and DVD's do not provide the interactive experiences the brain needs.

1 – 2 Year Olds

Name items and have the baby point to items pictured in the book.
Examples: Say, “Point to the hat.” or “Where is the fish?”

Brain Insight: Providing learning experiences in a fun and relaxed way with you can reduce the level of stress chemicals in a child’s brain.

2 – 3 Year Olds

Have the child play a, “Cat in the Hat” clean up game. Give the child directions to follow to pick up items after playing.
Examples: “Pick up the ball, put it in the toy box and crawl back.” Or, “Put the
book on the shelf and hop back.”

Brain Insight: Fun following directions activities give a child’s brain the practice it needs to remember more than one direction.

3 – 4 Year Olds
Have the child walk around trying to balance a book on his/her head.

Brain Insight: Movement activities help coordinate learning in many brain areas. Strong connections are made through activities using many senses and skills together.

4 – 5 Year Olds
As you read a paragraph in the story, stop and say one of the rhyming words. Have the child say the other rhyming word.
Example: "Have not fear said the Cat,
I will not let you fall.
I will hold you up high
As I stand on this ball."

You say “fall” the child will say, “ball”

Brain Insight: By the time a child is five a vocabulary of about 2,500 – 3,000 words can be developed. This is an increase from the 50 words known as a toddler. This only happens when a child has the chance to hear and use lots of words directly.

5 - 6 Year Olds
As you read the story, ask questions.

Examples: What do you think will happen next?, What do you think will happen if the Cat in the Hat balances more things?, or What do you think the fish will say about that?

At the end of the story ask, “What would you do if your Mother asked you?”

Brain Insights: Higher level brain skills are developed when thinking creatively. Brain development is also impacted positively when a child is listened and responded to. 

Do you have a memory of a favorite book or early reading experience to share? On this day dedicated to reading, it would be fun to have you share your favorite childhood book.  (Mine is, The Velveteen Rabbit)


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Elissa said...

Awesome article. Thanks for breaking activities and brain insights into age groups- very helpful!

March 3, 2011 at 4:33 PM
Deborah McNelis said...

Elissa, It is wonderful to know you found the activities so helpful. The age brake down is the same as the ones in the brain development packets if you are looking for more information!

Thanks for all you are doing to support early learning!

March 3, 2011 at 5:11 PM
Morgan said...

It's really wonderful if during childhood you will introduce book. This way they brain will have an early development. It also enhance their imagination and thinking skills. :D

March 5, 2012 at 10:21 AM

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