The Benefits of Reading to Your Baby
Discover the benefits of reading aloud for your little one’s language development along with tips on what kinds of children's books encourage early literacy.
One thing I am not minimal about is books! From the start, I have filled my children's lives with as many books as our budget would allow. From an early age, your little one can benefit from an adult taking the time to sit down and read aloud to them. But how early should you start reading to your baby, and what should you read to them? Read on to see what the experts say and for a few books we recommend for you and your baby.
Story Time & Baby's Development
There's a special connection that happens with our young children when we read out loud together. I have found it unnecessary to teach my children rote-style memorization of colors, numbers, or the alphabet. These basic elements come alive and become real in a tangible way when we read together, which inspires conversations and future adventures together.
Those aren't the only upsides, though. According to Nationwide Children's Hospital pediatricians, early literacy is integral to child development, encouraging language skills and helping your baby learn new words. Reading together is crucial for your child's language development, allowing them to go from baby babble to complete words and beyond to further milestones. In addition, the effort spent on story time gives them the reading skills they need for a headstart on kindergarten.
When Should I Start Reading to My Baby?
Even though your baby cannot grasp a book or sound out the letters of the alphabet, it is never too soon to introduce your little one to the magic of books. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), "reading, talking, and singing regularly with young children from birth stimulates brain development." So you should start reading to your baby right away in their first year! It's a great idea to make reading aloud together part of your daily routine. I've found that reading together can be the perfect way to wind down after playtime. Once the wiggles have been worked out, cuddle up in your nursery chair with your kiddo and snuggle together while you explore a new literary landscape.
Reading strengthens bonding time since reading a book together can signal safety, love, and an emotional connection. It can also help establish a regular bedtime routine. That benefits everyone!
Are you worried that reading aloud is one more thing you must do as a sleep-deprived parent? Getting into a routine doesn't have to be time-consuming or complicated. Taking a moment to read has a host of benefits for you and your baby that we've already discussed, but it can also help your child increase their concentration and attention span. I can't imagine a caregiver out there who wouldn't appreciate that!
You might be wondering what kind of books are best for your baby and can last into toddlerhood. Babies respond more to bright, high-contrast colors and different textures when they get older. You'll also want sturdier books, like cloth books or board books, since older babies will love touching the book themselves (and probably chew on it, too). While there isn't much to read in these books, talking your baby through them is essential. For example, prompt them to feel the difference between a flap of denim and another of burlap or moo when they see a cow and oink when they see a pig.
As their literacy skills grow, you can share a greater variety of books, including nursery rhymes, simple poems, fairy tales, and more! So follow your child's interests and read them the stories they love.
Books We Recommend for Reading Time
Educator Charlotte Mason refers to reading books that beautifully express the world around us as living books, and I couldn't agree more! We now have a handful of favorite books in the shop from beloved authors such as Gerda Muller & Elsa Beskow. You can shop all of the BOOKS HERE. fawn&forest features infant baby books that will last from their first day to their first birthday and for years to come.