Guest Reader Program

Reinforcing the Benefits of Reading

 

The Guest Reader program is for students in kindergarten through grade 5. Every spring, from January through May, business leaders, city officials and local citizens spend 20 to 40 minutes per week in an elementary school classroom reading aloud to the children. The program is intended to expose students to the pleasures of reading and to present a positive reading role model. Reading to children brings enjoyment to both the readers and the students, and reinforces the idea that reading is fun for everyone.

While most people would agree that reading aloud to children is a good idea, new studies are showing just how beneficial reading aloud can be for toddlers and preschoolers. An article in the New York Times outlined two pediatric studies about the significant interactions that occur when children listen to books read aloud. Of course, this is something that the Peabody Education Foundation’s Guest Readers suspected all along!

The first study, published in the journal Pediatrics, monitored brain activity in 3- to 5-year-old children as they listened to stories, and found a positive correlation between higher reading exposure and greater activation of brain areas associated with mental imagery, language processing, and narrative comprehension. The children hearing the stories were imagining them in their minds, a skill that can then help those children develop into better readers.

The second study, published in the journal Psychological Science, found that the language content of age-appropriate picture books contained more unique word types than the language used by parents talking to their children. This means that the more often children read to, the more likely they will hear a wider range of vocabulary words than those children who are not being read to. These studies show that reading to children plays an important role in developing brain activity and helping children become better readers.

Peabody Education Foundation

The Peabody Education Foundation provides unique programs and advanced technology to thousands of students and teachers who might otherwise not enjoy such experiences due to budget constraints.