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Why More and More Parents Read Out Loud to Their Babies

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Concerned that too many youngsters were entering third grade with sub-par reading skills, child development experts and pediatricians across the country want parents to rustle up some books at home and start reading out loud to their babies.
mom reading to baby

Undoubtedly you already know it’s important to read aloud to children. When you read out loud to youngsters, their vocabulary grows, their comprehension improves, and little ones learn to listen. If you continue to read out loud as your baby passes the 3, 6, 9, and 12-month mark, he will begin to respond to you with coos and giggles—his way of communicating. But that’s not the only reason to read often and start early.

5 Hidden Benefits of Reading Out Loud

Reading out loud has hidden emotional benefits for you and your sweetie. For example:

  1. It promotes parent-child bonding. Reading to your child while she rests in your arms or sits on your lap helps the two of you create a deep connection. Even if you can manage only a quick poem or a pared-down story once a day, your child will benefit greatly from one-on-one attention.

  2. It’s just plain soothing. Slot in time to read when you feel relaxed, have no interruptions, baby’s belly is full, he’s alert and not cranky. Aim for low-key (not overly stimulating) time together. There’s no need to finish a book in a single session. You can skip around the text or just check out parts that interest your baby. If your newbie loses interest or gets fussy after a few minutes, put the book down and try again later.

  3. It creates teachable moments. Even the youngest babies respond to rhythm, rhyme, and repetition, which is why classic catchy poems (Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary or Jack and Jill) are so appealing. Try short rhythmic sentences with fun-to-say words or cute animal sounds to capture your baby’s interest.

  4. It lets kids preview exciting, new adventures. When you choose books about everyday experiences—a trip to the farm, fun at the park, or a drive to Grandma’s—you help your child make sense of the world around him.

  5. It makes learning fun and stimulating. Many board books focus on colors, shapes, and letters instead of long, involved stories. Don’t bother to “teach” your baby at this point. Just encourage her to take in all the wonderful designs and pictures. There’s plenty of time for more challenging reading material later.

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