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Review: Reading improves a child’s brain (Includes interview)

The days of early childhood are especially critical brain development years. One of the best and earliest interactive activities between parents and children is reading.

Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D. writes in her book, The Creating Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius, that reading encourages children’s imaginations and visualization. These types of thinking processes develop the brain and teach children to create and think for themselves. Dr. Andreasen states, “Creating the right environment to learn during the right time to learn is one of the secrets of building better brains.” She maintains that daily reading to your child from the first few months upward is essential for the future. Interact with your child, ask him content questions, put emotion into the characters, and make it fun.

Reading to children 20 minutes a day from birth to age five creates a love of literacy, before school even begins. 20 minutes a day is a cumulative 600 hours. The Children’s Reading Foundation states that “Children whose parents read with them learn to read well and are typically proficient readers by third grade.”

Reading to children helps them begin to understand and know their letters and sounds, recall and retell parts of the story, answer questions about the content (the beginning of comprehension), and encourages speaking in complete sentences.

Pictures are necessary for children’s literature as they help understand the meaning of the words.

The child’s brain is also developed through reading together: new sounds are learned, children must figure out word pronunciation, and vocabulary outside everyday conversation is built.

The Educational Testing Service reports that the more variety of reading materials there are in the home, “the higher students are in reading proficiency.” (Educational Testing Service, 1999. “America’s Smallest School: The Family”)

As parents and grandparents read with their children, healthy relationships and reading routines are established. It is estimated that “for every year you read with your child, average lifetime earnings increase by $50,000.” (Lynn Fielding, Nancy Kerr, and Paul Rosier, The 90% Reading Goal (Kennewick, WA: The New Foundation Press, 1998), page 68.)

Author Joy Budensiek

Author Joy Budensiek

Children’s book author, Joy Budensiek is the mother of three and a grandmother of eight; she has also been a college instructor for 20 years and knows the value of reading with your children.

“Children,” she states, “have a natural affinity for discovering the wonder of nature.“

Joy Budensiek’s “By the Way” children’s book series is specifically written and prepared for parents and grandparents to sit down with their children and read together.

Joy began publishing her work after reading that 19 of 20 Christian families do not actively talk to their children about God. Her books are tools she adds, “to help parents dialogue with their kids about their faith.” They will also develop a joy of learning through reading and discovery of nature’s wonders. In this way, seeds of faith will be planted with truth at an early age.

Did you know that a mosquito bites with her 47 teeth, or that a shark loses 35,000 teeth during its lifetime?
There are 3,000 varieties of palm trees, and alligator eggs laid in a sand nest at 82 degrees Fahrenheit will all hatch as females?

Each book is location-themed, the first covering Florida’s Treasure Coast, where Joy and her family reside. The Treasure Coast edition recalls the Jobe Indians and the many shipwrecks in the Atlantic Ocean, giving the area its name.

Book characters travel by bus, plane, or RV to the Smokey Mountains, Pennsylvania and other locals. Coming titles take “By the Way Tours” to Washington State, Colorado and Ohio during spring time to visit Johnny Appleseed. A major train trek is in the works covering the Megalopolis — Boston to New York. Joy Budensiek’s goal is to publish 100 books in her “By the Way” series.

Each book has beautiful photographs and attention has been given to detail. Also available are coordinating activity books (ages seven to 12), a 20-page coloring book (ages three to six), eight color 11 x 14 posters, sets of flashcards, and stuffed animals.

“By the Way” books are a reminder to us as parents and grandparents that it is our responsibility to prepare our children for their future.

Joy Budensiek was born in New Foundland, Canada and brought to the United States by her adoptive parents. At age 40, she traced her roots north and subsequently wrote the autobiography Reconnected to My Belly Button. Today, Joy lives in Hobe Sound, Florida where she has been an intercultural instructor for more than 20 years at Hobe Sound Bible College. Contact Joy at

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