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Tandem® Loves… Picture Books that Build Brains

By age five, 90% of a child’s brain has developed. That’s why enriching, positive early childhood experiences are essential for building strong neural connections and setting them up for a lifelong love of learning. At Tandem, we believe one of the best (and most fun!) ways to do this is by sharing stories.

Reading books word-for-word to children is a fantastic start – but how can we help families make the most of this joyful time they spend together? We recommend families “share a book with” their child instead of just “reading to” them. Sharing a book means that the child is just as much an active participant during storytime as the adult leading the activity.Interactive Brain Scan

This PET scan highlights key parts of a child’s brain lighting up when participating in different activities. When they are “read to,” children only hear and see words. However, sharing a book interactively with a child—asking them questions and listening to their responses—activates areas of the brain associated with hearing, seeing, speaking, thinking about, and generating words. This burst of activity in multiple areas of the brain builds strong neural connections and a love of books and learning that can last a lifetime!

Float by Daniel Miyares
Get your child’s brain busy by sharing a wordless picture book. When you don’t have a set text to follow, it really frees up the imagination. Float, by Daniel Miyares, is a Tandem favorite. As you turn the pages, ask what you think they child in the story feels. What happens to his paper boat? Act out the illustrations you see. Point to the images and talk about vocabulary words like: rain, newspaper, reflections, and more. The Library Book by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark



The Library Book, written by Tom Chapin and Michael Mark, and illustrated by Chuck Groenink, is another fantastic book that features rich illustrations that can spark hours of storytelling and imaginative conversations. Point out the characters, ask your child to help tell the story, and incorporate fun movements when you can. All these interactive techniques are building your little bookworm’s brain! 



Tandem, Partners in Early Learning, engages the whole community to ensure all families have the resources, skills, and confidence they need to support their children’s kindergarten readiness.  We are a local nonprofit serving over 20,000 children and families every year. Join. Donate. Volunteer. bit.ly/tandemearlylearning

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