Reading to Your Baby: When to Start and How to Do it Well
Ah, babies. So adorable. So ready to snuggle. So ready to start reading!
Wait-- Babies read?
No, technically babies can't read. As we all know, babies are preoccupied with learning things such as rediscovering their feet every other day, exploring the perpetually new world around them, and making a mess for mommy. Regardless however, they reap immense benefits of being read to early and often. Here are five reasons you should regularly read to your baby:
Kids grow up rapidly! One minute, we describe them as this many inches long, so-and-so months old and then the next they're pushing five feet tall! No, they don't stay small for very long. But reading to your baby, holding him or her in your arms while enjoying a book, will slow down that growing-up process for both of you. It will allow you to snuggle up with your special little one and create an intimate moment of shared fun and learning whose memory will persevere.
Studies have shown that reading to babies (even newborns!), helps them develop their vocabulary. At first they will have no idea what you are saying, what your words mean, and why you make the faces that you do when the words come out. However they slowly begin to absorb the repeated sounds of Mommy and Daddy and associate them as sounds that identify the images in books. This step in cognitive development is key-- and you will have so much fun doing it!
Just for the love of it
Reading to your baby is a wonderful opportunity to rediscover some of the cherished books you loved as a child. You'll be amazed how much fun it is; it takes you back to your youth, when you yourself were just discovering the power of alliteration and developing your love of reading. In fact, remembering how excited you were to learn to read will inspire you to read more to your baby.
Baby see, baby do
For better or worse, children emulate the behaviors they see in their parents. This means that if your baby grows accustomed to you reading to him or her and can pick up on your enthusiasm and love for reading, he or she is likely to develop the same passion for it. It's only natural. For babies born in the digital age rife with many bright, loud distractions
It's an investment
There's no proof that reading to your baby will get them a full ride scholarship to Harvard someday, but there is evidence that it will help him or her do better in school. Educators consistently report that kids who were read to frequently and read frequently as a result perform significantly better in school than their non-reading peers. A baby does not know to best prepare themselves for future academic achievement, but this where our role as parents is integral; by investing time reading to our babies, we give them a gift that will last a lifetime.
Ah, babies. So adorable. So ready to snuggle. So ready to start reading! So grab your baby's favorite MAM pacifier, snuggle under a blanket, grab a great book and start reading!
Now we need your help! We and many parents need advice for the best books out there. What were some of your all-time favorites when you were a child, and what books do your baby love?