Bedtime stories may be more than just pre-sleeping rituals for your kids. According to a new study featured on Science Daily, reading stories may help promote emergent literacy in toddlers.

Kansas State University assistant professor Bradford Wiles worked with kids between three to five years old as well as with their parents to see how reading stories affects early learning. He found that story engagement has a huge impact in their mental processing and vocabulary growth.

"There is nothing more powerful than your voice, your tone, and the way you say the words. When I was a child, my dad read to me and while that was helpful and I enjoyed it, what we are finding is that when parents read with their children instead of to them, the children are becoming more engaged and excited to read," says Wiles.

Engagement includes play-acting, asking questions, and giving directions. When parents work with their kids in this manner, they don't only create a stronger relationship with their kids–they get to boost children’s brain activity as well.

"One of the things that I really hope for, and have found, is that these things spill over other areas. So you start out reading, asking open-ended questions, offering instruction and explaining when all of a sudden, you aren't reading at all and they start to recognize those things they have seen in the books. And that's really powerful," Wiles reveals.

As children learn by leaps and bounds during their younger years, it's important for them to absorb as much information as they can. Bond with your kids through storytelling, and give them more learning opportunities by getting their creative and logical juices running.

(Photo by John Flinchbaugh via Flickr Creative Commons)

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