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Blue Manatee Literacy Project

Your baby’s brain: If you want to build a better mind, tell stories

The interaction between you is helping to establish her vital, lifelong neural groundwork — things like memory development, attention, information processing, decision making, and more. It’s setting one of the habits that might help establish how healthy your child becomes as an adult, too.

And the earlier you interact, the better, the research shows. Much of the evidence is not just with toddlers, but also with infants whose umbilical stumps are still attached.

The critical bond that forms can’t be overemphasized or overestimated, research shows. In two papers in 2018, researchers at MIT using neuroimaging techniques reported, in essence, that building the fibers that eventually connect to establish this cognitive function is enormously affected by a child’s early, consistent exposure to a “conversational experience.”

Socioeconomic status doesn’t matter, the researchers wrote: What matters is the back and forth between child and adult, and the constancy of it. Reading aloud to a child, for instance.

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