Study: Reading aloud and play reduce child behavioral problems

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NEW YORK (CBS) Pediatricians recommend parents read to their children from birth because it can help their cognitive, language and social-emotional development. Now new research finds reading aloud to infants and toddlers can help them when they get to school.

Eugena Sanchez has been reading to her two little girls since they were babies.

Reporter Kenneth Craig: And every day you read to them?
Eugena Sanchez: I try almost every day.

Now a new study in Pediatrics finds reading out loud to young children, as well as engaging in pretend play, can improve behavior problems related to hyperactivity and attention when they get to school.

"Better able to sit still... better able to get along with friends or peers and teachers," said the study's author, Dr. Alan Mendelsohn with NYU Langone Health.

Researchers looked at children from birth to three years old in a program that coached parents on reading and playing, then followed the children after the program. Dr. Mendelsohn says parents should point out pictures and ask questions when reading stories. "When parents provide children with the opportunity to kind of think about their feelings, and those characters, it helps them to practice for when they're actually dealing with those feelings when they enter school," he said.

Sanchez reads to her children in both Spanish and English and says she's already noticed the benefits, especially with her youngest. "I see other kids the same age, and they don't talk as much as she does," Sanchez said.

Setting her girls up for success in the classroom.