SHOULD I READ ALOUD TO MY BABY?

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

Watching your baby develop and achieve a variety of milestones is such a joyous time. As soon as they leave the warm safety of the womb and enter the noisy, bright world around them, they begin on their journey to learn everything they need to know! So are books important for a baby's development? Absolutely! And I'm here to show you why...

Benefits of Reading Aloud to Your Baby

Sharing stories, talking and singing, on a daily basis, helps your baby’s development in many ways.

  • It helps your baby get familiar with sounds, words, numbers, letters, colours and shapes in a fun and engaging way.

  • It builds listening, memory and vocabulary skills and teaches them about communication.

  • Reading stories stimulates your baby’s imagination.

  • It helps them learn about the world around them.

  • Handling the books and turning the pages themselves will help your child to develop their fine motor skills.

This all contributes to the building of early literacy skills and supports them to go on to read successfully later in life.


By the time your baby reaches their first birthday they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language so the more stories you read aloud, the more words your baby will hear and the better they'll be able to talk. One study completed in 2019 estimated that children who are regularly read to in their first 5 years are exposed to 1.4 million more words than children who aren’t read to during those years. If you think about the books you read, often they contain words that we wouldn't necessarily use in our everyday communications so books allow children to hear a huge variety of words.


BookTrust has also conducted and commissioned numerous pieces of research showing the profound benefits linked with reading and children's development - so head over there if you'd like to read more on it.


After saying all that, perhaps the most important reason to read aloud to your baby is to make a connection between the people they love the most (you!) and books! If infants are read to daily with excitement and closeness, they will almost certainly associate books with happiness! Reading a story is a perfect way to bond with your baby and share precious time, cuddling, together. So grab a book and start to read!


How to Read to my Baby?

The great thing about reading aloud is that it doesn't require any special skills or equipment, it is just you, your baby and some books. You don't need to spend lots of money on books either, just head to your local library and borrow a whole variety for free!

You should try and read everyday, perhaps find a time that suits you so it can become part of your routine, for example, before naptime and bedtime. Reading before bed gives your baby (and you!) time to wind down after a busy day, cuddling and connecting with each other. It is also good to read at other times of the day, when your baby is dry, fed and alert so they can get more involved in the story. Books are brilliant if you are stuck waiting anywhere, so have some to hand in your changing bag, ready for a queue at the shop or when you are sat in the doctors waiting room!


Only aim to read for a few minutes to begin with, but do it often. Don't worry if you don't finish an entire book, just focus on the pictures and talk about what is going on, what can they see? Babies will begin to point and make noises while reading which is great for their development. So continue to repeat words and point things out that you think they will enjoy.


Top tips for reading with your baby:

  • Cuddle while you read, as this helps your baby feel safe, warm, and connected to you.

  • Read slowly so your child catches each word and its meaning.

  • Choose stories with rhymes, songs, repetition and engaging pictures – your child will love these!

  • Read with expression, make your voice higher or lower where it's appropriate, or use different voices for different characters- this is not essential it just makes it fun for you and baby! (They love you, they are not judging you so be as silly as you want!)

  • Don't worry about following the text exactly. Stop once in a while and ask questions or point at the pictures. ("Where has Emma gone? There she is! What a brave, strong girl she is.")

  • Sing nursery rhymes, make funny animal sounds, or bounce your baby on your knee — anything that shows that reading is fun.


Babies love, and learn through, repetition so be prepared to read the same story again and again and again...and again!


I hope this has given you a little insight into the importance of reading to your baby. Please get in touch if you have any further questions- I'd be happy to help! But most importantly, go and find a good book and read to your baby now...


Click here for 3 brilliant books for really young children to enjoy!


#readaloud #readingtobabies #booksforbabies #readingtomybaby #benefitsofbooks #readaloudeveryday #raisingreaders




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