Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why it's important to read to your baby

I was an Early Head Start teacher for almost 3 years. During the course of this job, I learned a lot about how babies learn. Did you know that ages zero (newborn) to three years old are the most formative years for a child? These are the years when the most brain development occurs. Babies and toddlers are ALWAYS learning. It makes sense. EVERYTHING is new to them!

I once talked about reading to my baby and someone asked me, "Why would you read to your baby?"
Author Emile Buchwald said, "Children are made readers in the laps of their parents." This is so true. How do children learn? By observing! If a child never sees their parents reading, the child will probably not view reading as something that is important or fun! So how can you help to instill a love of reading in your child?

- Read to them! You can start this when your baby is just a few months old. At first, he will just listen and look at the pictures. As he gets older, he will try to turn the pages and grab the pictures as you read. When he is old enough to talk, he may even repeat some of the words. Many parents establish a bedtime routine for their babies to help them sleep better at night. Reading a story before bed is a great part of a bedtime routine and you can carry it on throughout childhood.

- Expose your child to books. As early as 6 or 7 months old, let your baby sit on the floor with books. Of course you want to get board books and soft books that are safe for babies. IT'S OK FOR THE BABY TO PUT THE BOOK IN HIS MOUTH! As long as it's a sturdy book, it's totally fine. Babies experience the world with their mouths. This is how they will experience the books. Let them do this. As they get older and as they watch you read the books to them, they will start to try and turn the pages themselves and pat at the pictures in the books.

- Repetition is key. If you are a parent, you know that your child asks to watch that same movie or TV show over and over again. Why not do this with books as well? Find books with phrases or words that repeat. When your child is a toddler or preschooler, he will love to repeat or say phrases of the book along with you.

Remember these things and you can get your child started on the reading track early! Happy reading!


  1. Yeah this is totally true. I had a friend who thought that he couldn't teach his baby anything. So that kid became the most unruly bully (he tried to bully my daughter, we weren't friends for long after that). His inability to realize that he could teach his child caused him to lose the best friend we will ever have and his kid will very likely grow up to be a bully.

  2. Found you on Liv, Laugh, Love and saw the post and had to come over and read it. I'm with you 100% on this. I actually did a post on it as well. I've been reading with Madison from day 1. Our favorite book was Goodnight Moon every bedtime. She didn't understand but she loved hearing my voice. Now she's 19 months, she totally enjoys "reading" books. She even gets them on her own and tries to read on her own. It not only helps in the long run but builds vocabulary as well. I'm amazed at the amount of words she understands even though she doesn't say much.