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The importance of reading to a child cannot be understated in terms of brain development

Parent reading to a child [shutterstock]
Parent reading to a child [shutterstock]

You see it everywhere; kids with iPhones, kids with iPads, and kids in front of televisions. What impact does that have on childhood development, on the ability to build neural pathways, on the ability to read and distinguish shapes and colors and concepts?

It has long been known that unplugging kids and engaging them by reading with them early forms the building blocks of literacy. Dr. John Hutton, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children's hospital and a children's book author and former bookstore owner, set out to measure this concept scientifically.

He'll be speaking at a Read Across America event for The Literacy Cooperative Wednesday.

He and other researchers at the University of Cincinnati teamed up to use Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRIs, to look at what happens in a child's brain when they're looking at a screen a lot and what happens when they unplug and are read to. No surprise, screens are bad for brain development.

It's easy, and sometimes necessary, to put an iPad in front of your child. But even with educational apps and programming, is that the best thing to do? Also, how do you properly assess where your preschooler is with literacy and what do you do to make sure they're on the right path?

 We'll discuss early brain development to begin today's show.

A bit later, Ideastream Public Media's Kabir Bhatia shares his reporting on the two productions inspired by Shakespeare's "Othello" in Northeast Ohio.

Finally another conversation prompted by the Crain's Cleveland Business '8 Over 80' feature.  We'll meet Joe "Flash" Gordon, who's been selling cars for more than 50 years.

Literacy Cooperative Events

- John Hutton, MD, Director of the Reading and Literacy Discovery Center, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

- Joan Spoerl, Director, Imagination Library – The Literacy Cooperative

- Coretta Daniel, Social Worker, parent of Imagination Library child

- Kabir Bhatia, Senior Reporter, Ideastream Public Media

- Keith Hamilton Cobb, Actor, “American Moor”

- Limmie Pulliam, Actor, “Otello”

- Joe Gordon, Car salesman, “8 Over 80 Honoree”