It really is never too early to read to your baby. There’s a growing belief that reading to the baby in the womb helps the development of a calm personality and a sense of rhythm.
Why do it?
• Most brain development happens in the first three years of life.
• Babies need stimulation as much as they need food, so sing, talk, tell stories, chant rhymes – and READ!
• Babies need language, and authors are so good at using it – vocabulary grows through reading.
• It’s about communication too – one of the earliest things a baby responds to is the sound of the voice of someone who loves them and is a big part of their world.
• Sharing books regularly helps adult and baby to bond.
• Listening and concentration are big skills; babies grow through book sharing.
• Children who know how books work, who are used to listening to stories and rhymes and who see books as a normal part of life are more likely to have a good start at school.
Reading together and getting into the habit
• Settle down in a comfortable place every day.
• Go for two books – you choose one and your child chooses one.
• Be happy to read favourite books endlessly! This gives security as well as pleasure.
• Encourage joining in – rhyming words at the end of lines, turning the pages, lifting the flaps, etc.
• Point to and talk about the pictures; children soon learn that the words and pictures work together to tell the story.
• Remember, reading together is not quiet time – be ready to use funny voices, make animal sounds as the book requires, and to laugh and talk a lot.