Reading to your child is very important for their development. Numerous studies show that you can in fact begin reading to your baby as early as you would like to! Your baby might be too young to understand the stories that you tell or the words that you say, however, reading to your baby ingrains words in their brain, which form the roots of language that would later contribute to their verbal ability!
Reading will help with their word pronunciation, language skills and literacy skills. Apart from aiding your baby’s development, it is also a wonderful bonding activity for you and your baby to share some quality time together.
So you might be asking now, “how do you read to a baby?” Well below are some tips and tricks for reading to your baby that we suggest you take note of. Hope it helps!
Babies enjoy the company of their mothers and they are certainly soothed by their voice! At this stage in their lives, they might not be able to concentrate by using their ears alone. This is why it is important to read from toxic-free soft fabric book or thick board book that can stimulate their other senses as well. Do not be alarmed if your baby tries to chew on the book, this is how they explore the world around them. Take breaks, and enjoy the process. Do not worry too much about telling them a full story, just concentrate on having a little reading routine before bed!
At 6 months old, your baby will begin to understand simple short stories. At this age, read from colourful books. Your baby will be able to use their eyes as well as their ears to take in the story you are telling. By around 9 months old, your baby begins to recognize re-occurring pictures and stories that you have told before!
At 9 months, you can begin to read stories that contain reoccurring rhymes that can easily be followed by your baby. In fact, studies have shown that at this age, it is common for your baby to already have a favourite story. At 1 year old, you can incorporate questions to your story-telling. Ask your baby to point at specific items in the picture, and give them positive reinforcements when they get it right!
This is the age where your baby will begin to be very active. It is okay to read to your child while they are running around. At this age, your child’s attention span will increase. Start introducing longer stories with meaningful plots to your child when you feel comfortable. A good way to engage and utilize all that energy inside your child, is to find a way to connect the story with some form of action, such as asking your child to demonstrate how a bunny hops, how a dog barks, or how a lion pounces at its prey? Be creative! At this age, your child wants to do “adult things” that you usually do. Give your child the opportunity and option to turn the page of the story book, or simply to hold the book will give them a sense of control and responsibility. Keep interacting with your child and ask simple straight-forward questions relating to the story! Remember to make it a routine.
At this age, try introducing non-fiction books in topics that you know your child has interest in, or fiction books with more complex plots. While reading to your child, you can begin to ask questions that require more thinking and reflection such as “what do you think that boy will do after that?” or “how do you think that girl feels?”
It is important to remember that each child’s pace of development is unique. Do not force anything on them if they don’t feel ready. Bonding with your little angels is very important for both you and your child. Creating little moments by reading to them will help with that while also aiding the development of your little angel’s language skills! Happy reading!