Babies and Early Reading

Question: My baby girl is just 3 months old. I know everyone says it is very important to read to children. It just seems ridiculous to read to such a young child. Can't I wait until she at least sits up by herself?

Answer: You should not wait to read to your young child. It's never too early to start. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should be reading to their infants from birth. From birth to age 3, so much brain development occurs. Children who are read to have much larger vocabularies and other important communication skills.

Research has shown how reading to very young children benefits them in these ways:

  • It increases bonding with a child as you hold and cuddle the child while reading.

  • It acquaints the child with the sound of a parent's voice. The child may even respond by moving her arms and legs.

  • As the child listens to stories, the number of words she hears increases, thus increasing her vocabulary.

  • Your child's eyes are starting to focus. Reading picture books will help her learn simple shapes now and later recognize letters.

  • As you continue to read to your child, she will learn that reading is a fun activity.

Surprisingly, there are also benefits to you. Instead of having to enrich your child's life through endless chatter with her about what you see, it's an easy way to talk to her.