When parents talk, read, and sing with their babies, connections are formed in their young brains. These connections build language, literacy, and social and emotional skills at an important time in a baby’s development. These activities also strengthen the emotional bond between parent and child and helps your child reach social and developmental milestones. Here’s are some ideas about why you should read to your baby and also tips for how and when to do it.
What Are the Benefits of Reading to My Baby?
An infant won’t understand everything you’re doing or why. But reading aloud to your baby is a wonderful shared activity you can continue for years to come — and it’s important for your baby’s brain. Reading aloud:
- Teaches a baby about communication.
- Introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colors, and shapes in a fun way.
- Builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills.
- Gives babies information about the world around them.
By the time babies reach their first birthday, they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language. The more stories you read aloud, the more words your baby will hear and the better they’ll be able to talk.
Hearing words helps to build a rich network of words in a baby’s brain. Kids whose parents talk and read to them often know more words by age 2 than children who have not been read to. And kids who are read to during their early years are more likely to learn to read at the right time. When you read to your baby:
- Your baby hears you using many different emotions and expressive sounds. This supports social and emotional development.
- It encourages your baby to look, point, touch, and answer questions. This helps with social development and thinking skills.
- Your baby improves language skills by copying sounds, recognizing pictures, and learning words.
But perhaps the most important reason to read aloud is that it makes a connection between the things your baby loves the most — your voice and closeness to you — and books. Spending time reading to your baby shows that reading is important. And if infants and children are read to often with joy, excitement, and closeness, they begin to associate books with happiness — and new readers are created.
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Kidshealth.org. 2021. Reading Books To Babies (For Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth. [online] Available at: <https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/reading-babies.html> [Accessed 21 January 2021].
intermountainhealthcare.org. 2021. Why Reading To Your Baby Is So Important. [online] Available at: <https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/pediatrics/2020/07/why-reading-with-your-baby-is-so-important/> [Accessed 21 January 2021].