Health Team

Reading to children boosts development, experts say

Reading to children is so important that some pediatricians are giving away books to their patients to encourage the practice.

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At just 21 months old, Xander Sevier can already find his way around a smartphone.

But he's learning his ABCs the old-fashioned way – from a book on his dad’s lap.

“There is great value in spending time reading to your child every day,” said Dr. Thomas Flaherty, a Cary pediatrician.

Reading to children is so important that Flaherty makes sure he talks about it with parents during "well baby" checkups.

“(Reading to your child) actually stimulates vocabulary acquisition and actually stimulates language,” he said.

Through funding of the Rex Healthcare Foundation, Flaherty also gives developmentally appropriate books away to families as an investment in each child's future.

“They're going to have academic success, which is going to lead to social and economic success. And like everything else in pediatrics and early childhood education, the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome,” he said.

Reading books to Xander wasn't a hard sell for his parents, Noah and Elisa Sevier.

“It gives the parents a chance to have undivided attention, which is something that is hard to come by, especially with working parents,” Elisa Sevier said.



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