It’s never too early to introduce babies to books. Of course, a newborn can’t hold a book, and they don’t know the alphabet. Reading aloud to your baby is a wonderful activity you can continue to share for years to come. It offers many benefits, including playing a role in brain development.
Reading aloud to your baby helps:
- Teach your baby about communication.
- Builds listening, vocabulary, and memory skills.
- Introduces concepts such as letters, numbers, letters, shapes, and colors.
- Provides babies with information about their world.
By the time a baby reaches one year of age, they will have learned the sounds they need to be able to speak their native language. Reading to your baby helps them hear more words, and the better it will help them learn to talk. In general, children whose parents read and talk to them know more words by the time they are two than children who haven’t been read to. Additionally, kids who are read to in earlier years are more likely to have an easier time learning to read when it’s time.
What Happens When You Read to Your Baby?
Several things happen while you are reading to your baby.
- Your child hears you use different expressive and emotional sounds, which supports emotional and social development.
- Reading encourages your baby to interact by looking, pointing, touching, and asking questions, which helps with thinking skills and social development.
- Your baby improves their language skills when they copy sounds , learn words, and recognize images.
Those are some great benefits, but maybe the most important reason to read to your baby is the connection it makes between you, your voice, and cuddling close to you. When you spend time reading to your baby, you show them how important reading is to you. When children and babies are read to with closeness, excitement, and joy, they start to associate these feelings with books. As they grow they will continue to love reading and books, creating a whole new generation of readers.
Reading for Different Ages and Different Stages
Babies don’t know what pictures in a book mean, but as they get older and develop more skills, they can focus on them. They will be drawn to faces, different patterns, and bright colors. Reading and singing lullabies or nursery rhymes to your baby can entertain them, but it can also soothe them.
Reading to babies between four and six months
Babies may start to show some interest in books at this age. They may want to grab on to them and hold them. They may also want to chew on them. Sturdy vinyl or cloth books are the best choice during this stage.
Reading to babies between six and 12 months
At this stage, your baby will start to understand the pictures more and they’ll realize they represent objects. They may start to show that they like some stories, pages, or pictures more than others. Your baby may begin to respond to reading by grabbing the book or making sounds. By 12 months, they may start to try to turn pages with some help. Your baby may start to point at certain objects on a page or repeat the sounds they hear you make.
Tips for When and How to Read to Your Baby
The best thing about reading to your baby is that it doesn’t take some special skill or equipment. All you need is your baby and a book. You don’t have to read for very long, especially when your baby is young. Just read out loud for a few minutes at a time, and do it often. You don’t even have to finish entire books; focus on pages you can enjoy with your baby.
Try reading every day, as a habit. Right before naptime and bedtime are usually good options. Reading with your baby before bed lets you and your baby cuddle and connect. It can also be helpful for setting a routine that can be calming to your baby.
Looking for a Great Place to Start?
At Little Biscuits, one of our all time favorite books is Narah and the Unicorn. You can start by ordering just the book, or you can take advantage of cuddle time and order the book bundled with pjs and a blanket. We believe there is nothing as precious as cuddling with our little ones.