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Information and inspiration for parents and caregivers of babies, toddlers and preschoolers

Bringing books to life

Father and son laughing

Reading books with your young child is a proven way to develop their vocabulary and help them do better when they get to school. But did you know that acting out a book can help your child get even more out of reading time?

Research by ASU psychology professor Arthur Glenberg explores the different parts of the brain used for reading comprehension and found that learning is boosted when children act out what they are reading.

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Reading engages parts of the brain that store memories for vision, touch, physical activity and other functions. When children are being read to, or still learning to read, they tend to focus on the pronunciation of the words. But when they act out what they are reading, the story comes alive and they’re more able to map the words to their experiences and better understand what they’re reading.

Here are more suggestions on how you can make books come alive for your child: 

Visit the library or children’s theater
Look for opportunities to take your child to your local library for storytime or to a community children’s theater when the play is based on a book. Then check out the book and read it with your child at home. You can act it out like you saw during the play or at storytime.

Pretend Play
There are many benefits of pretend play. Take time to pretend with your child, letting your child’s imagination take flight. Find books related to what your child likes to play, like a book about dolls or trucks. Then, during reading time, bring a doll or truck and act out parts of the book.As you put these tips into practice, you’ll help expand your child’s reading comprehension, setting your child up for a strong start in school.



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