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mommag.com
YOU ARE WHAT YOU READ
Reading to little ones helps them learn about the
You may have read
The Hungry Hungry
Caterpillar
a hundred times, but there’s a
reason you should read it a hundred more.
Science suggests that activities like
reading and frequent verbal interaction
are fundamental to a child’s understanding
of themselves, their social groups and their
surroundings.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on
The Cat in
The Hat
.
Social cognition is a science that focuses
on how people process, store and apply
information about other people and social
situations. Children begin forming these
cognitive patterns from birth, but they
take in more information as they grow—
and make more connections, accordingly.
Reading to children is not just a way to
pass the time and teach them to rhyme, it’s
an important factor for developing social
interactions and are often emulated in
pretend play later on. Children often act
out social examples that they’ve seen or
read about, so it’s important that the
images that are fueling these activities are
positive ones.
Whether it’s through reading or example,
the lessons we teach in childhood, about
sharing and playing well with others, will
help them grow into more cooperative and
caring adults.
For a list of age-appropriate books for your
child, visit the local library or online resources
like commonsensemedia.org
tools to function in society. Most age-ap-
propriate books go a long way to helping
children learn about personal interactions,
cause and effect, and other life lessons, but
even more important are the conversations
between the pages. Asking children to
discuss or ask questions about what was
just read to them (or what they read, as
they get older) can encourage deeper
understanding of these lessons.
Children who are encouraged to be aware
of other people’s emotions—and their
own—will likely be better communicators.
When they are able to not only understand,
but predict, other people’s desires and
feelings, they’ll likely be more empathetic
and cooperative human beings. Stories
and books can illustrate positive social
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