Reading to your baby is so very important , for lots of reasons. But for me it's a special way to spend time together and bond. Trying to make it part of your daily routine is wonderful too.
Reading to your baby from a young age is amazing for their brain development. We know, from lots of research, that little ones who have early exposure to books have better language acquisition and cognitive processing speeds that have a positive impact on their education so you really are helping build your little one’s brain!
Introducing books to your baby is something you can do from birth and it is great to have as part of your daily routine. If you haven’t introduced books to your because you think they can’t understand the story yet, and while this is true it doesn’t mean that they are not learning.
Young children whose parents read them five books a day enter kindergarten having heard about 1.4 million more words than children who were never read to.Even children who are read only one book a day, will hear about 290,000 more words by age 5 than those who don't regularly read books with a parent or caregiver.
"Kids who hear more vocabulary words are going to be better prepared to see those words in print when they enter school," said Logan, a member of Ohio State's Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy.
"They are likely to pick up reading skills more quickly and easily."
Reading helps your baby develop
cognitive processing skills
visual skills including tracking and visual discrimination skills
listening skills and attention
motor skills as they co-ordinate their eye muscles and hand to eye co-ordination they help turn pages
We also know that children who are read to every day have been shown to be almost 12 months ahead of their age group when they start school, it really does help to build brains and shows the importance of reading to babies.
Top tips for reading to your baby
Start today – dig out a book, cuddle your baby and spend some time together
Think about books that have repetitive language patterns – ‘that’s not my’ books by usborne books are great for this
Match a book with a toy like we have in our images, that way you can have really authentic conversations with your baby about what they are looking at. You can pick a yellow toy to match the colour of the book cover or a toy that features in a book, for example we have a book that has a ladybird on the last page, when we get to it the ladybird finger puppet appears, it builds anticipation!
Pick a book with texture to add more opportunity for sensory development
Read the same books often, repetition really is amazing for brain development
Think about the time of day you read together, when your little one is alert and active might not be the best time to get their full attention, choose a quieter time when your little one is calm
Think of their position when you are reading, lying beside them, cuddling or in tummy time are great positions for reading
Choose contrast image books for younger babies to help develop their visual skills
Make it part of your daily routine, read a book before bed or before a nap at a quiet time.
Get others involved in reading too, listening to lots of different voices is an amazing opportunity to concentrate on developing those listening and language skills
Have lots of fun and as always ensure that your little one is safe at all times, keep them in eye-sight and arms reach when playing!