Part of our family has just had a gorgeous little boy, their first very loved and totally wonderful child. (I may be a little biased here). We recently spent a long weekend with them and I was absolutely over the-moon to see Dad reading to Baby every evening. It was an absolute joy to see, and I felt a little bit privileged to be able to be there, witnessing such special moments for Dad and Baby. If you go to my Facebook page (Tiny Sponges) you can see this beautiful video for yourself.
Books were given to the baby’s parents by Bookstart when he was born. This is an amazing charity which, every year, reaches 3.4 million children across the UK with books.
They know that:
- reading can transform lives
- reading for pleasure has a dramatic impact on educational outcomes
- reading has an impact on wellbeing and social mobility
- reading is a huge pleasure in itself
Parents are encouraged to read to their children from birth and to read every day. So why should we read to our new-borns? Here are seven really important reasons.
- Bonding moments
Reading to your new-born can turn into an incredibly special time with your baby. It’s one-to-one time where you are close to each other, the baby can hear the sound of your voice, and after a while, you may start to notice your baby responding to the rhythmic sound of your voice with movements of their arms and legs. It’s not just a soothing experience for baby – it also reinforces the feelings of love and intimacy for the parent.
When you read, you use different sounds that show emotions. Whether it’s doing a voice for a character in a book – or even what’s going on in a book. This makes connections in baby’s brain, giving them an understanding that certain sounds mean certain things and that words have meaning.
- Reading preparation
New-borns pick up the rhythms, inflection and tone of your voice as you read to them. This helps their brain to develop in ways which can better prepare them for eventually reading on their own.
- Love of reading
If you do it every day it will show your child that it is of value, something to be enjoyed – and that attitude will start a love of reading that will take them through their lives.
- Communication skills
As they get older, new-borns who are read to have a greater vocabulary than other children. There’s a direct link between how many words a baby hears each day and their language skills as they get older.
In the first 3 months, your new-born will start to focus their eyes on simple patterns on the pages. If you read picture books, your baby will be exposed to a variety of letters, colours and shapes that they will start to recognise as the months go on. Children who are read to from birth generally have better maths skills than other kids their age.
- Read whatever you want!
You don’t even need to read children’s books! (Though it is good practice for later.) Your new baby can’t understand your words at the moment – so you could read to them from just about anything. A magazine, the newspaper, or the takeaway menu! It doesn’t matter what you’re reading right now, as long as you are reading!
Go to my Facebook page to see the full (beautiful) video.