One daily habit could have a huge impact on your child's success

Snuggling up next to your kids to read them a bedtime story isn’t just helping you bond with your little one.

We’ve known for a while that reading to children is a great way to help kids learn how to read for themselves.

But recent research suggests story time may have other benefits as well.

Here are four reasons why reading to children — especially when done regularly — could be crucial to their success.

It stimulates parts of the brain associated with visual processing

An August 2015 study highlighted by The New York Times found increased activity in the areas of children's brains associated with processing images. That suggested to the researchers that even when kids aren't the ones reading, they still picture the places they're hearing about.

'When kids are hearing stories, they're imagining in their mind's eye,' John S. Hutton, a clinical research fellow at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the lead author of the paper, told The Times.

It's different from just talking to them

Another recent study observed that reading aloud to children starting in infancy exposes them to more words than they might hear in everyday chatter.

And with more vocabulary comes a variety of sentence structures that don't typically get used in conversation.

It may boost their ability to process information

A 2014 study based on data from 4- and 5-year-old Australian children found that -- even when controlling for factors such as their parents' income and education levels -- kids whose parents said they read to them at least six days a week scored higher on national tests designed to measure understanding and comprehension than those whose parents said they read to them just once or twice a week or less.

The differing results appeared to hold steady roughly until the kids reached age 10.

It may help them problem-solve

In a survey of 9-month-olds in Ireland, researchers found that children whose mothers said they read and talked to them 'often' or 'always' up until that age performed better on a private questionnaire used by the University of California at San Francisco and the University of Oregon than those whose mums said they read to them 'rarely,' 'never,' or 'not at all' -- even when controlling for mother's income and education levels.

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