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Let’s read aloud together


Reading aloud to a child, even a very young one, accompanying him to discover the magic of the book, the pictures, the sounds is a gift, a gift we give him as well as a complex and fundamental activity for his future.

The development of basic skills, such as language, motor skills, and interpersonal skills, are the result of the dynamic interaction between genetic and biological heritage and the physical and psycho-social environment as early as intrauterine life.

This process is not automatic but takes place in response to social and interpersonal cues, based on the relationships and opportunities that parents and caring adults can provide at a very early age. The effects of such experiences are lasting and influence children’s entire life journey. In fact, positive stimuli are neuro-constructive and are also a valuable defense to possible exposure to stressors or impediments to neurodevelopment. Studies in epigenetics are demonstrating how favorable (or not) conditions concur to make infinitesimal changes in DNA capable of activating or deactivating the switch of a certain function.

For example, exposure to constant and high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) already during pregnancy and early life has consequences on the child’s weight and sense-motor development, resulting in the possibility of attention difficulties, hyperactivity, etc.

Learning begins as early as in utero, and as far as language is concerned, we know that term infants have already memorized the maternal voice and are sensitive to the properties of the mother tongue. Just as we know that a child’s language development depends on how much and how the mother spoke, sang, and played with the voice for him and with him.

One can start, from birth, with lullabies, rhymes, poems and nursery rhymes and then move on to multisensory books made with different materials or inserts that can be read with the body, hardback books depicting (one net image per sheet) people, animals, familiar objects that the adult names and repeats over and over again, short and simple stories related to routines that mark the day, real stories in verse or prose, etc. etc.

Fundamental is interaction and a playful and joyful interaction: asking questions, amplifying answers, following the child’s interests, encouraging the child to recognize and name the elements or characters depicted are all essential steps.

In light of these considerations, reading aloud (early, frequent and quality reading) emerges as an important tool that addresses multiple needs:

  • Fostering the dedicated and exclusive relationship between parent and child, thus the affective relationship and secure attachment, an essential condition for the growth of skills in all fields.
  • Helping to create an environment, consisting of the book and the parent, that is attractive to the child, where there is pleasure, exchange and participation
  • Facilitating what will be a strenuous task (learning to read) which is a condition underlying an individual’s overall educational success and which depends on both the child’s talents, the family environment, the time of beginning, and the frequency and regularity of reading itself.
  • To stimulate and develop listening skills, as well as the neural circuits of understanding storytelling and mental imagery, that is, the ability to “see” what is being heard. We are in the realm of imagination, play, creativity, the capacity for abstraction, that whole area of skills, that is, that specifically characterizes the human mind.
  • To enhance, through exercise in narrative comprehension at an early age, the activation of neural circuits located in the frontal lobe that regulate functions such as planning, control of attention, execution, and choice of strategies.

For years now, the project
“Born to Read”
, in which Hospitals, Local Health Authorities, Libraries participate, and which aims to raise awareness, stimulation, and practice of parents to read to their children, with a function also of social contrast to inequalities, since

“Poor is above all the child who is not given opportunities to grow: cognitively, emotionally and socially even before physically…. True poverty is the deprivation of good relationships and educational opportunities. For it is this, above all, that clips the wings. A child whose parents have a good income but are left alone in front of the TV with chips is more “poor” than a child with parents who are deprived of means but loving and caring ………..”( G.Tamburlini, EPIGENETICS OF POVERTY (OR: THE MOLECULES OF FAILURE), Physician and Child 10/2014)


P.Causa, HIGH VOICE READING The development of skills that constitute the ability to read, Beyond the Mirror, Physician and Child 9/2002

  1. Panza, Born to Read and dialogic reading: to whom and how, Born to Read no. 2 / 2015, acp Notebooks –
  2. Tamburlini, Early interventions for child development: rationale, evidence, best practices, Physician and Child 4/2014

G.Tamburlini, EPIGENETICS OF POVERTY (OR: THE MOLECULES OF FAILURE), Physician and Child 10/2014

G.Tamburlini, Shared family reading and brain development in children, Physician and Child 8/2015


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