Author and Pediatrician stresses importance of early childhood reading

WINONA, Min (WXOW) – According to pediatrician and Gundersen Health System author, Dr. Vivian Rider, reading to children at a young age is very important… even for babies.

At the Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) center at Goodview Elementary, Dr. Rider invited to share the children’s books she wrote and meet the new parents and babies enrolled in the Baby & Me class.

Parent educator, Heather Millard, believes that having partnerships, such as the one with Gundersen, enriches the learning of young parents enrolled in the Winona Area Public Schools Community’s education programs. She also encourages all parents with children to consider taking advantage of the programs ECFE has to offer.

“I think parents don’t realize how important it is until they’re here because as we were talking in class, ECFE isn’t about me teaching you anything. It’s about supporting you with education and then with research So being able to be in a room with other parents going through the same thing, it’s just… it’s huge, it’s support… that a-ha moment… it’s ‘I’m not alone ‘” said Heather.

Starting with her first book, Thank You For Giraffes, Dr. Rider the babies in the room before. She then followed it up with her second book, The Mouse Gawned. When she was done, she was available to talk to the parents.

dr. Vivian likes to encourage parents to read to their children because she knows how much it helps with brain growth and cognitive development. And as a mother, she knows how valuable it is to connect with the child and watch them enjoy the stories being read.

For new parents, it is not widely known that reading aloud to babies is beneficial. dr. Rider said reading to babies helps develop language skills. It also aids in brain development and nerve connectivity along with increasing IQ

dr. Rider adds that research has shown that there are measurable differences between children who are read to and other children when they reach school age. Reading to children have over a million more words in their vocabulary and longer attention spans.

“I especially want parents to understand all the benefits of reading to young children. We are part of a program that hands out a book at every well-child check-up and we actually start at 2 weeks of age, we start talking about reading to babies said Dr. rider.

Like dr. Rider said, Gundersen Health Systems encourages early reading through the Reach Out and Read program.

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