Centro per la Salute del Bambino - Onlus, Trieste
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Key words: Reading, Children, Home reading environment, Brain development, Neuroimaging
The article provides an overview of recent advances in the understanding of how and when the home reading environment influences brain development in the first years of life. Neural circuits that enable language and reading skills are based on a combination of innate patterns and environmental experiences. The importance of the home reading environment in shaping and enhancing the neural circuits in several cerebral areas has been shown by neuroimaging studies, thus confirming the evidence produced by behavioural and intervention studies. Precocity of initiation of shared reading, its frequency and duration, number and variety of children’s books are all important factors in building and improving emergent literacy components. Paediatricians, as well as all child health and education professionals, should engage in the promotion of shared reading at home as a priority action to support child development, improve caregiver - child relationship and reduce developmental gaps.
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