Parents are a child’s first teachers, role models, inspirations, moral guides and protectors. Recent developments in neuroscience provide information indicating that a baby’s early interactions with parents, caregivers and others in his or her environment actually affect the size and structure of the mind as it develops. Therefore, rich and varied interactions have a strong, positive impact on the size and structure of the brain. In contrast, neglect, abuse and highly chaotic environments tend to have negative effects on brain structure and function.
Many of Louisiana’s children are growing up in circumstances such as poverty, unemployment and parental absence that make them more vulnerable, limit the development of their potential and generally restrict their chances for successful lives. A significant number of children in the greater Baton Rouge area go to school unprepared and lacking many pre-literacy skills and experiences that usually occur at home with their parent.
Research indicates that regular, early-childhood pre-literacy activities in the first three years of life are critical to a child’s success in school and a literate future. Reading is a fundamental life skill and key to living a successful and productive life. Research shows that children get ready to read and write before they start going to school. Our society relies on parents as the first and most important teacher in their child’s life to develop the foundation for literacy for their child. A love for reading must be fostered in the earliest days of children's lives by their parents to ensure they have success in school in the short term and productive lives in their future.
Parents have many good reasons to read to their babies. One is that babies associate their parents' voices with warmth, comfort and security. Parents who hold their babies while reading to them create a close, loving bond. Children who are strongly attached to their parents feel safe to explore and learn more about the world around them. Babies who learn to communicate their needs effectively will be encouraged to learn more and are more likely to eventually experience success in school.
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