“There are many little ways to enlarge your world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy
You might be curious about the advantages of reading to your child. A baby won’t comprehend all you’re doing or why you’re doing it. However, you wouldn’t wait to speak to your child until you were sure they could comprehend you, would you? And you wouldn’t wait to introduce toys to your child until they could shake a rattle or skip lullabies until they could carry a tune.
A wonderful shared activity you may engage in with your child for years is reading aloud to them, and it also serves as a crucial type of stimulation.
Reading aloud to a baby fosters communication skills, pleasantly presents fundamental ideas like numbers, alphabet, colours, and shapes, improves vocabulary and listening comprehension, and informs infants about their surroundings.
Unbelievably, babies will have mastered all the sounds necessary to communicate in their native tongue by the time they turn one. Your youngster will be exposed to more vocabulary and better communication skills the more books you read aloud to them. A baby’s brain develops a robust word network by hearing words. By the age of 2, children who have parents who read to them or talk to them frequently know more vocabulary than children who have not. And children who are read to from an early age are more likely to pick up reading at the proper age.
When you read, your child hears you making various expressive noises and feelings, which promotes social and emotional growth. Reading also encourages your child to gaze, point, touch, and responds to questions, all of which help them develop their social skills and critical thinking. Additionally, your infant develops linguistic abilities through copying sounds, identifying images, and learning new words.
But the most crucial benefit of reading aloud to your baby is that it helps them associate books with the things they love most, like your voice and being close to you. Reading aloud to your child demonstrates the value of mastering this skill.
Different Stages at Different Ages
Young infants may not understand the meaning of the pictures in a book, but they can concentrate on them, particularly faces, vibrant colours, and contrasting patterns. To amuse and calm your baby, read or sing lullabies and nursery rhymes.
Your infant may show more interest in books between 4 and 6 months. They will mouth, chew, and drop books in addition to grabbing and holding them. Choose books made of durable vinyl or cloth that are colourful and have repeating or rhyming language.
Your baby is beginning to realize that pictures represent things between the ages of 6 and 12 months, and he or she is likely to show preferences for particular images, pages, or even entire stories. Your baby will react while you read by reaching for the book and making noises. By the time they are 12 months old, your baby will turn the pages (with a little assistance from you), pat or begin to point to objects on the page, and echo your noises.
When to Read and How?
What’s nice about reading aloud to your infant is that you don’t need any special tools or talents; all you need is some books. Please spend a few minutes reading aloud at a time, but do it frequently. Focus on the passages you and your child find enjoyable rather than worrying about finishing the book.
Try to set aside time each day to read, perhaps before nap or bed. You’ll enjoy cuddling with your baby before bed, and by creating a routine, you’ll make life simpler for everyone. Your infant will become more at ease as a result and will establish expectations for bedtime.
Reading throughout the day is beneficial. Pick those times when your child is dry, nourished, and awake. Have some books in the diaper bag to pass the time while waiting in line at the grocery store or the doctor’s office. Books are also helpful while you’re trapped waiting.
Here are some more suggestions for reading:
- Read with emotion, raising or lowering your voice pitch as needed, or using different voices for certain characters.
- Holding your infant close while you read promotes feelings of security, warmth, and kinship.
- Sing nursery rhymes, imitate animals, or bounce your infant on your knee to demonstrate that reading is enjoyable.
- You don’t have to adhere to the text verbatim. Every so often, take a moment to pause and offer comments or questions about the text or visuals. ( “Where is the cat? What a sweet black cat he is, right there “) Even though your child might not yet be able to respond, this sets the stage for them to do so in the future.
- Babies enjoy repetition, which helps them learn, so don’t be hesitant to read the same books repeatedly. When doing so, use the same accent again, much like you would with a well-known song.
- As your child becomes older, encourage him or her to handle or touch books made of more durable materials like vinyl, fabric, or board. While you shouldn’t encourage your baby to chew on books, by putting them in his or her mouth, your baby will learn about them, experience how they feel and taste, and realize that they are not edible.
What to Read ?
Books for infants should have straightforward illustrations and basic, repeated text. Your newborn enjoys hearing your voice during the first several months of life so that you can read nearly anything, especially books with a sing-song or rhyming content. Choose books with straightforward illustrations set against plain backgrounds as your baby becomes more interested in looking at things.
You can read vinyl or cloth books with faces, vibrant colours, and shapes to your baby as they start to grab things. Add board books featuring images of babies or familiar objects like toys when your baby starts responding to what’s within them. Find basic stories about daily rituals like sleep or bath time when your child starts to accomplish things like sit up in the bathtub or eat finger foods. When newborns begin to communicate, choose books that encourage them to repeat short phrases or words.
For this age range, books with mirrors and various textures (crinkly, velvety, scratchy), fold-out books that can prop up, or books with flaps that open for a surprise are all excellent choices. Infants find it easier to turn the pages of board books, while cloth or vinyl books can be taken anywhere, even in the bathtub. Any baby enjoys looking through photo albums that contain images of the people they love and know. And a set of nursery rhymes need to be available for every infant!
Having books about your home is one of the best methods to guarantee that your child grows up to be a reader. Make sure there are some books in the mix when your baby is big enough to crawl around to a basket of toys and choose one.
Utilize the books you can borrow from the library and the ones you already own. There are story times just for babies at many libraries. While you’re there, don’t forget to get a book for yourself. Another strategy to be a reading role model for your child is to read for enjoyment.