The Importance of Reading to Your Baby
It may seem strange to read to a newborn or young baby, but it’s been shown to be super beneficial for both you and your baby. They are learning while you’re reading although it won’t be what you’re saying that’s important, just the fact you are talking at all.
80% of a child’s brain forms in the first three years of life, and all their encounters, experiences and learnings during this time affects their brain development. Engaging your baby with books can not only be a most special bonding time, but also it is also a great way
to engage your baby and grab their attention.
Your little one has had their mothers voice as their soundtrack for the last 9 months, as they listen from the inside the womb. The familiar sound of your voice can have a soothing effect on your baby and helps to develop feelings of intimacy between you both, making story
time a truly special experience to enjoy together. The rhythmic cadence in your voice help them to hear speech patterns, although they don’t not understand them yet. The more words a baby hears in those first crucial years is linked to superior languages skills and
My little one describes story time as ‘her feeling of safe’,and even when she couldn’t verbalise that, she would respond to the physical closeness and would simply relax in my arms – it’s just such a special time.
When they’re tiny your words soothe them, but as their eyes and brain develop they can begin to focus in on colours and shapes. When they start to get a little bigger they might want to touch and feel the books with their little hands, for an added sensory experience. From around 6 months, they may begin to identify objects by patting them or copying sounds you might make, even making a connection between what you say and the images
on the page.
The sounds they hear form the foundation of the reading skills they’ll go on to learn, with how to inject emotion into reading or the intonation and expressions, all learnt from those early story times when they just listened and absorbed.
Reading to your little one can help you to:
- Establish a bedtime routine
- Develop their imagination
- Give them vital communication skills
- Help them to develop their eyesight
- Understand emotions
- Understand the meaning of books
Benefits of reading at different stages in months
Bolder, brighter books are perfect to grab your little ones attention at this age. They can focus on shapes, patterns and colours helping them to engage with what you’re reading. But in reality at this age, it doesn’t really matter what you read to them, you could read them War & Peace, it’s hearing the words, the tone, the expression that really matters. Just exposure to a vocabulary aids communication in so many ways.
As with probably everything they come across, this is the age they’re going to want to grab hold, touch and even chomp on whatever they can get their hands on; books being no exception. It’s a great time to let them get a bit more involved as they listen to the words, but maybe choose more sturdy books as ripping pages out can be super fun!
Your little one might start to recognise objects and pictures at this age. They may even start to want to get involved in telling the story, mimicking your sounds and pointing things out. They will love the different voices for different characters, so bring the drama and watch them smile.
This is when your little bookworm will really start to buildup the foundations of their
vocabulary. They are likely to be more interactive with the book, and they may even say simple words if they spot their favourite character.Repetition is key at this stage, so if they insist on you reading them the same book over and over, remember, they’re absorbing everything.
18 months - 3 years
As they grow, they might like books about their favourite things to really help them engage. To be sure they’re understanding what they’re hearing you can ask them simple questions for example, “Where is the mouse?”. As their brain is still in the vital early years development stage, be sure to keep reading as part of your daily routine.