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The importance of parent-child joint reading

Parents often wonder about their role and what they can do to best prepare their preschool children for their future. One of the most important and underrated activities is joint-storytelling and reading - which ties in perfectly with the Crayon Kids partnership model between the school and parents. This is informed by research which consistently shows that Early Childhood Development does not only happen at school but also requires critical parental input. For example, a recent article in *Brain and Cognition stresses the importance of parents reading to their children as opposed to outsiders/experimenters. The study is especially relevant because it highlights the importance of reading for the development of children’s linguistic development and “processing speed” - i.e. their ability to process communication. But it also suggests that parental reading, especially from print books, is much more effective for developing so-called “print-awareness” than reading by someone else. We also know that print awareness plays a critical role in the development of linguistic skills such as “oral language, reading comprehension and spelling” during later school years. As a parent, perhaps the most important gift you can give your child during these trying times is to take away some of their screen time and replace it with good and proper, old-fashioned reading from age-appropriate print books. This will not only help foster a love for reading, but will also help with building the necessary vocabulary and foundation skills so necessary for their later school years. And you will get to spend some quality time with your child in the process. Dr. Jacobus Liebenberg * Brain and Cognition, Volume 143, August 2020

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