Originally posted on Moms Magazine
“Next to hugging your child, reading aloud is probably the longest lasting experience that you can put into your child’s life. You will savor it long after they have grown up. Reading aloud is important for all the reasons that talking to children is important – to inspire them, to guide them, to educate them, to bond with them and to communicate your feelings, hopes and fears. You are giving children a piece of your mind and a piece of your time.” Jim Trelease
It seems just like yesterday when I read aloud to my babies. Every night, I read aloud to them since birth. Every night, I loved this special time to cuddle when their chubby fingers would point to pictures in the book.
Every night, I did it because the “How to Be A Good Parent” books told me to do it. Back then, I didn’t know the outcome. I just did like any parent who wants the best for their child would do. I read aloud to my babies from birth to their teen years.
In fact, every night, I’d sometimes have to read the same book for the 100th time. (You know what I’m talking about.) However, I truly didn’t get annoyed. I’m a teacher. So, I know that when your child wants you to read the same book over and over again, it’s called imprinting. It is an important step of their language development. The repetition leads to retention.
So, the next time you think you’re going to lose your mind by reading the same book for the um-teenth time, just smile knowingly that you are positively developing your baby’s language. It’s part of the process.
Now, those babies that I faithfully read to every night are in their late teens. Now, I see the fruit and wisdom of reading aloud to your baby from birth.
One is in college. He struggled learning to read overcoming mild dyslexia. I shudder to think how much more challenging reading would have been for him if I’d not faithfully read aloud to him since birth. The other, well, he is an avid reader. He always has his nose stuck in a book, and he knows things way beyond his years.
The experts are right, reading aloud to your baby from birth is the single most important activity you can do to build knowledge required for success in reading.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and other trusted sources, this is what happens when you read aloud to your baby.
- Reading aloud to your baby stimulates their brain
Check out this amazing research. 90% of a baby’s brain is developed between birth and age 5. Reading aloud creates more language development.
- Babies learn to associate books with love and affection
- Babies and parents bond
- Creates security
“Reading made me feel safe. It helped me understand the world I live in.” – Kate DiCamillo, two-time Newbery Medal winner
- Reading aloud to your baby builds vocabulary
Children who grow up in homes where they are read to and talked to regularly will have a much greater vocabulary. Reading aloud also provides children with vocabulary words that they will use throughout life. Research shows that the average children’s books contain 50 percent more unique words than a television show or a typical conversation between two educated adults. While babies may not understand the concepts and story lines of books, hearing your voice is comforting and, in time, your child will find meaning in the words you are using. In fact, the more words parents use when speaking to an 8-month-old infant, the greater the size of their child’s vocabulary at age 3.
- Builds listening, attention, and memory skills
- Helps babies make connections to the real world
- Creates the language foundation necessary to succeed in school
- It creates a love of literacy
In summary, research shows that it’s best to instill a love of books and reading by reading aloud to your child beginning at birth. Reading aloud to your baby is nurturing and develops a bond with your child that they will never forget. They establish a positive connection between books, reading, and love and affection.
Like my children, children who grow up in families that embrace and encourage reading are more likely to have success in reading and develop a love of literacy. So, please read aloud to your baby because one day, they will read to you.
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Let’s make a positive difference~ one word at a time.
Please share this article with others that you think would benefit from these tips. Also, please ask any questions that you may have about teaching children reading or writing. Leave your questions in the comments. I’ll answer.
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