HCN News & Notes

Reading Aloud Can Reduce Hyperactivity, Attention Problems in Children

ITASCA, Ill. — A new study, “Reading Aloud, Play and Social-Emotional Development,” published in the April 2018 issue of Pediatrics, studies how pediatric programs that promote positive parenting activities such as reading out loud and pretend play affect children’s social and emotional development.

Researchers performed a randomized study in which some children received a program called Video Interaction Project beginning at birth and continuing through age 3. At every pediatric visit, program families were video-recorded reading or playing with their children, and then the video was reviewed with a coach who helped parents learn more about their own powerful role in their child’s development.

Researchers found that children in families participating in the program had fewer attention problems and fewer disruptive behaviors such as hyperactivity and aggression when they started school 18 months after the program was completed. Families who continued to participate in the program after age 3 had even larger impacts.

The study authors concluded that pediatric programs such as the Video Interaction Project can have a significant impact on children. The findings are especially significant for parents, as they show that reading aloud and playing together with children can help them have better control of their behavior, which is important for learning when they begin school, the authors added.