What Are The Benefits Of Reading To Your Baby?
You might wonder if your baby gets any benefits from listening to you speak, as he or she is too young to understand anything that you are saying. But even though your baby can't process what you say, he or she is using that time to begin to learn how to communicate. At a young age, your child is learning how words and sounds help express needs and wants to the outside world, and hearing you speak helps your child begin forming the basics of understanding.
It's the same situation with reading to your child. When you read to your child, you are helping him or her begin to establish new concepts. As your baby listens to you read words and sees images associated with those words, he or she begins to associate the two together. By the time your baby develops the ability to speak, he or she will have a basic foundation of vocabulary to build off of during further formative years. Studies have shown that children who experience books at an early point of their life score higher on verbal tests and develop a wider vocabulary than their peers who are not read to at a young age. By reading to your baby, you can help give them a head start for the rest of his or her life.
Choosing the right books to read depends on the age of your child and the mental capabilities of your child. At a young age, the best choices are books that feature large pictures and repetitive words. If they're small enough for your child to grab, that works even better. During the first year of their lives, babies often use their hands and mouths to explore the world around them, and many books that are perfect for babies are often published on cardboard, allowing them to withstand babies' attempts to try to eat them.
If your child is still too young to reach out and grab many objects, feel free to read books that you find interesting. The words don't really matter to your child at that age; he or she is more interested in being close to you and hearing your voice. The importance of reading to babies at that age is in exposing your children to the sound of your voice; when they can hear you speak, that's a great start to their development.
If your baby has passed the age of 12 months, odds are, he or she is ready to start picking up a few concepts from what you're reading. Chances are, your toddler can understand a few words and a simple sentence or two, which gives you an opportunity to expand on what he or she already knows. For example, when you complete a page, you can point to a picture on the page and ask your child what the picture is. This is another instance in which repetition can really help, as toddlers learn new words when they are repeated often. If you take the time to read the same book to your child multiple times, it will really help him or her begin to learn what those words mean. He or she might even begin to anticipate when things occur in a story and react accordingly, showing you how much progress he or she is making.
Regardless of your child's age, reading with your baby helps increase the bond between parent and child and helps foster a love for books when your child is able to understand words and what they mean. Reading will be a large part of your child's learning experience throughout his or her life, and by starting early, you can ensure that your child develops a love of learning and a love for the written word. Encouraging reading as early as possible can help develop good habits that will lead to future success, another good byproduct of reading to your baby. Although we believe the most important reason is by reading to your baby you are developing a bond between you and your baby. The close bond between parent and child begins very early and reading is an excellent to begin this process.