We have always been fascinated with the idea that if babies could talk what would they really say to us? In the first year of life, their young brain relies on the sounds of speech to form associations with language. With this sound, the brain starts mimicking them. That’s why reading to our babies is very important as this forms the foundation of their language development.
While babies cannot read yet, the fact that we are reading to them is already training the brain how to read. Here are 5 tips to help your baby to read to help you get started.
- Be happy reading to your baby.
Reading should always be a happy and positive experience for your baby – and you. Enjoy the time, be in the moment and enjoy connecting with your baby. You may not realise it but their young brain is actually sensing everything about the experience. So, avoid any negative vibes when reading to your baby.
- Build your baby’s book collection.
Get as many and as varied books as possible for your baby. Get ones with different textures and lots of colours. Some have sounds and light effects. Choose big ones and small books too. The idea is for you to introduce different books one at a time so that your baby’s mind will be kept stimulated to integrate newer things each time. This also helps expand your child’s vocabulary, a fundamental requirement for effective language development in young children.
- Read freely without expecting anything.
Parents are not teachers who expect a learning outcome whenever they read to their babies. Don’t expect them to be glued to your face every time you read. It will take time before they can associate these times as reading times, as opportunities for them to listen to the sounds of words and for them to watch the different facial expressions that you make that they will soon associate with the different emotions in what you’re reading.
- Always point to the words when reading.
As your baby gets a little older, point to the words as you say them out loud. Be aware of the correct pronunciation too. You are actually directing their eyes onto the “word” that is associated with the “sound”. Doing this every time and they will soon start making the connections. They will also learn that the blobs of ink on the page are actually a collection of different words with different sounds. Check out these awesome baby books for some ideas on the most popular products at the moment
- Make reading a habit.
Many parents ask how often they should read to their babies. The answer is as often as possible. Their young brains are constantly making cognitive connections. That’s why you should keep providing the stimulation for this continuous cognitive development.
Reading to babies lays the groundwork for their language development. By following these 5 tips, you can help your baby learn to read, too.