WINONA, Min (WXOW) - According to Gundersen Health System pediatrician and children's book author, Dr. Vivian Rider, reading to children at an early age is very important...even for babies.
At the Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) center at Goodview Elementary, Dr. Rider was 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 having partnerships, like the one with Gundersen, enriches learning for young parents enrolled the Winona Area Public Schools Community education programs. Also, she encourages all parents with children to consider using the programs the ECFE has to offer.
"I don't think parents realize how important it is till they get here, because like we were talking in class, ECFE isn't about me teaching you anything. It's about me supporting you with education and then research. So being able to be in a room with other parents who are going through the same thing, it's just…it's huge, it's support...that a-ha moment...it's 'I'm not alone' " Heather said.
Starting with her first book written, Thank You For Giraffes, Dr. Rider read aloud to the babies in the room. She then followed it with her second book, The Mouse Yawned. Once finished, she was available for discussion with the parents.
Dr. Vivian loves to encourage parents to read to their children because she knows how much it helps with brain growth and cognitive development. And, as a mom, she knows the value of connecting with the child and watching them enjoy the stories being read to them.
For new parents, it's not generally known that reading to babies is beneficial. Dr. rider said that reading to babies helps develop language skills. It also helps brain development and nerve connectivity along with increasing the I.Q.
Dr. Rider adds that research has shown there are measurable differences in children who have been read to versus other kids when they reach school age. Read to children have over one million more words in their vocabulary and have longer attention spans.
"Mostly, I want parents to understand all the benefits of reading to young children. We are part of a program that gives out a book at every well-child check and we actually start at 2 weeks of age, we start talking about reading to babies" Dr. Rider said.
As Dr. rider mentioned, Gundersen Health Systems encourages early reading through the Reach Out and Read program.