Reading Aloud

Does having a child make you smarter? Is it possible that caregiving forces caregivers into being mentally svelte? This is my hypothesis for today, and now the ridiculously roundabout way I got to this question:

In yet another sad attempt to fill the void that is my life – while Murray works on other people’s records (see: 1, and 2) and my having finished Zelda – I recently purchased a copy of Brain Age for the Nintendo DS. The whole thing about this “game” is that it’s supposed to train your brain, namely your prefrontal cortex. Or something like that. So by solving a bunch of cute little puzzles as fast as you can, the “age” at which your brain operates is measured. I started out at 58, and depending on how tired or distracted I am, can get down to a 28 (20 being the best brain age possible…though I might debate that my brain was actually optimized at 20…it doesn’t say anything about the effects of career drinking).

ANYHOW, one of the tests asks you to read passages of text aloud, because that activates the certain part of your brain that will make you sharper and keener and other wonderful things. It didn’t occur to me until the next day, when I sat to read Corduroy with Neptune: as a mother I read out loud quite a lot. So assuming most responsible mothers spend at least fifteen minutes a day reading to their children, does that make us smarter?

Does parenting enrich the senses? Murray and I swear we have ninja reflexes now, and understand the concept of having “eyes in the back of the head.” Parents who are in tune with their kids know what their kids are going to do before they even do it. And when they grow up into teenagers, that parental intuition is frustrating as hell. But we do it all in the name of love, and those who’ve never raised a kid will never be able to understand that connection.

2 Replies to “Reading Aloud”

  1. Reading of chapter books (to my 7 and 9 year olds) has been awesome because we often end up needing the dictionary and then all of us learn a few new words a night.

    My kids have all loved Corduroy. (My oldest child saw the Pearl Jam song on our iTunes list and was disappointed to discover it wasn’t about a teddy bear and a girl.)

    That game sounds fun, but I’d rather have my 35 year old brain than my 20 year old brain.

  2. Yes, in a variety of ways – it not only sharpens your reflexes and improves your ability to think on your feet, but it provides a sense of perspective – you find yourself saying ‘oh, that’s why my parents did/said that’…it’s a perspective you don’t have before children (b.c.) because you only know your own experience growing up, being a parent allows you to experience many of the same things but from an adult point of view.

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