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June 6, 2022

We all know that reading to and with our children is important. But what we may not know is that it’s important for them well beyond their toddler years and it’s also pretty important for us, too. Yet the number of children who read for pure pleasure these days is apparently at a record low. According to last year’s results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), just one in three 13-year-olds read for fun. Although reading leads to lots of good outcomes like improved vocabulary, academic and personal success and more socio-emotional depth, it also has critical neurological benefits. And reading together, a particular kind of reading, can lead the body to release oxytocin, the “love drug.” This, in turn, is a boost for children, but also for parents, so many of whom are struggling with anxiety, stress and their own mental health. All of which is to say that reading, especially reading out loud and reading together even when your children are no longer in diapers, is well worth your time and will probably make you happier and healthier, too.