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Little kids get more benefits when this adult reads to them, research says
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Being read to is important for language development and other benefits. But when a specific adult takes on the task, the benefits are even better, researchers say. - photo by Lois M. Collins
It's important to read to small children for lots of reasons, including language development. But research that originated at Harvard says the benefits grow when dad's the one doing the reading.

According to a story in The Telegraph, former Harvard researcher Elisabeth Duursma, who now teaches in Australia, found that "questions posed by men when reading to children were found to have sparked 'imaginative discussions.'"

The story added that "researchers said it was, therefore, better for childrens language development because they tend to be challenged more."

Duursma noted that women are more likely to ask for a review of the facts in a story, such as "how many apples were there?" A man reading about a ladder might ask if his child remembers when he used to have a ladder on his truck, launching the children into a more creative discussion.

Duursma said girls benefit even more than boys from being read to by their fathers.

A different article in The Telegraph noted research indicating "the ideal bedtime story should be just 8.6 minutes long, feature a dragon, a fairy and a wizard and be set in a castle."

That's not everyone's example of perfection. Lots of parents are sold on a new book, self-published by a Swedish psychologist, Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, that's outselling such blockbusters as "To Set a Watchman" on Amazon.com. "The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep" relies on psychological tricks and positive reinforcement to get a child to fall asleep.

And some parents are saying that it works in mere minutes. The so-called magic of the illustrated book is reportedly in the choice of words (selected very deliberately by Ehrlin) and in the delivery of the parent reading it. He tells people to read it slowly and calmly, a verbal child-rocking that is getting rave reviews. And don't forget to add a few well-placed yawns.
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