Thursday, 24 January 2013

Babies do need more books and less TV!

Annette Karmiloff-Smith  said on Radio 4 yesterday that babies learn from  TV more than books. Now, may be this just a  lady who is looking for some attention, working on the old premise that any publicity is good publicity BUT this is such an important topic and one which will keep cropping up over and over.

Let's set the record straight: Babies can't learn to communicate from TV, they need the stimulation of their parents speech and to be held too for bonding and attachment. Sharing a book, therefore,  is an excellent opportunity for interaction. May be Ms Karmiloff-Smith thinks we're talking about actually reading the book. I'm talking about using the book in the interaction.

There have been many, many research studies on the influence that sharing a book has on their educational growth, and in almost all of the studies done, reading to children as early as four months of age has been ‘proven not only as a good parent-child bonding, but as giving the child a good educational start in life’ (Maria-Helen Goyetche, owner of Early Childhood Education, 2009).  :

General points:

1. Babies: There’s no such thing as too early. It’s good to start showing babies pictures and talking about them as soon as they focus her eyes on the pattern on a jumper or the change-mat. It’s part of parent –child interaction. Sue Gerhardt, discusses the major adverse implications on the developing brain if there is not this type of quality interaction, (‘Why love matters’, 2004) 

2. Toddlers: discovering new words, learning to "read" pictures to find the meanings of words or the answers to questions hiding behind those thrilling pull-tabs: where's the kitten gone?

3. Pre-schoolers: a realisation that pictures on the page are the introduction to print; being read to helps the child toward written language at this age just as it helps towards spoken language two years previously.

I've written more on this several times now ( ) so I won't go on but please don't  let that ludicrous headline from yesterday put you off reading with your little one!

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