Studies show that babies are learning about language long before they start to speak it, and that they probably start learning soon after birth. Reading can be surprisingly good for Baby even when they are a few weeks old – they can respond to the sound of your voice, look at pictures, or develop motor skills by grabbing for the book or turning the pages.
And sure, fine-motor-skill development and the sound of your voice are things that Baby is going to be able to get from you outside of story time, too, but an analysis of many different studies done by the Center for Early Literacy Learning in 2012 suggests that if you read to Baby early and often, it could be a great way to give them a head start in terms of communication and language development, so why wouldn’t you give it a shot?
You already know that the sound of your voice is soothing to Baby, and that they like to stick close to you. Reading together can be a great way to both indulge in and strengthen that bond. Plus, reading together can be a great part of Baby’s end-of-the-day, winding-down-before-bed routine.
Children who start school with limited vocabularies in comparison to the other children in their class have a hard time catching up in school, and starting kindergarten with fewer words in their back pocket could affect Baby’s education for years into the future. Reading together is a great way to expose Baby to new words early on. Even if they doesn’t take them in right away, the familiarity that comes with having new words come up in their life regularly will help them out.
On your mark, get set, read!
More than anything, reading with Baby should be fun for both of you, so enjoy yourself! Read with voices, make sure to speak each word clearly, take a little extra time to explore the pictures with Baby, or even turn the words into a little song – experiment a little, and find what works for you and Baby.