Caring for Family

The Joy of Reading to Your Child at an Early Age

The Lasting Benefits of Story Time

There is no set age for when to start reading to your child, but research has shown that now is almost always better than later. Your child’s excitement to learn later in life can be encouraged through reading to them now. So whether they listen to the book or just point at the pictures, they’re more likely to benefit from the experience than not.

Share a Love for Learning

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that reading to an infant helps improve their ability to learn reading and writing as they grow up. And the children who have heard a wider range of words spoken aloud to them are at an advantage when starting school. The AAP states that a third grader’s reading level is the most important predictor of their likelihood to graduate high school and see success in their career. Early exposure to reading is a simple way to give your child a strong start and put them on track to a bright future.

But before kindergarten and long after they receive a diploma, the most important teacher in your baby’s life is you. A child’s parents are their nurturing guides. You want them to be happy, safe and secure. And making time to read aloud or even sing and tell stories all contribute to these goals.

Tips for Reading

Storytime isn’t all about the book or the pictures. It’s mostly about you spending quality time with your baby while introducing them to language. Holding your child close while you read aloud gives them a source of security to feel comfortable. They’ll come to associate the two positively and take to reading on their own earlier than if they hadn’t been encouraged right away. No matter whether you read to them before bed or during the day, try to make reading a happy experience full of expression, bright pictures, funny voices, rhymes and repetition. The more emphasis you put into the words, the greater chance your child has at remembering them each time they hear those words again. Even though their ability to understand is remarkable, babies are not always magnificent listeners. Letting them chomp on the book from time to time is alright too. Books made of vinyl or heavier cardstock are designed to be baby proof, so it may be useful to consider sturdiness when looking for something to read.

There are few things in parenting more rewarding than seeing your child develop new skills and ways to experience the world. Reading to them is one way you get to share their joy when they learn something new. And when they’ve gained that skill, many more follow.