How Reading to Baby can assist early childhood reading
It has been proven that social interactions, including talking, touching and playing are important for a baby’s early development. Reading aloud to your baby is an easy, enjoyable activity that you can continue to share for years to come, but it also has some added benefits for your child’s long-term language and literacy outcomes.
Reading aloud to infants not only engages them in a shared activity but it also:
- teaches communication
- introduces concepts such as shapes, colours, numbers, and letters
- shares information about the world
- builds listening, vocabulary and memory skills
Every time you read a new story aloud to your baby, you are exposing them to new words and ideas and helping them build word networks and patterns. Social and emotional development is also stimulated when you model emotions, expressions and body language and encourage questions and physical exploration of the books you are reading. Most of all reading aloud to your baby is a shared, nurturing activity that forms a bond between you and your child and encourages a lifelong love of reading.
When to Read to Your Baby
The best thing about reading is that it is not expensive, and most people are lucky enough to be able to read aloud to their baby. Set aside a quiet time to read and choose easy, fun books with stimulating pictures and colours. Children often have a favourite book that they will want to read over and over. This is normal and should not be discouraged as babies learn from, and love, repetition. They are testing their memory, revising vocabulary and enjoying the ritual of reading the same book with you each day. It is also a good idea to keep a favourite book in your nappy bag to read when you are waiting for appointments.
Another lovely activity is ‘storytime for babies’ at the library. Storytime is an opportunity to sit with your child and enjoy reading in a group setting. Make library visits a regular event, encourage borrowing when your child is older, and keep a variety of books around the home that stimulate and delight your child. The best way to ensure you have a child that is eager to read in early childhood is to develop a lifelong love of reading and stories as soon as possible.