Importance of Reading to Babies and Children

I wanted to share some articles that I found noteworthy regarding how valuable it is to read to your children, even when they are newborns.

Closing the 30 Million Word Gap – School Library Journal

Why parents should talk a lot to their young kids – and choose their words carefully – Washington Post

Baby Reading Milestones – PBS

Skills Your Baby Learns From Story Time – Parents

Reading Books to Babies – Kid’s Health

When my son was born it was the happiest and hardest time of my life. He arrived 7 weeks premature and spent 40 nights in a children’s hospital NICU. Everything was out of my control and I couldn’t even care for my own baby. The one thing that I could do to feel nurturing to him was to read to him. I sat in his room over 8 hours everyday and was almost always reading stories to him. My daughter, who is four months old, was also born early. Luckily, she didn’t spend quite as much time in the hospital and was at the local hospital’s special care nursery. I read to her every chance I get and I have no doubt she’ll be an early talker who is just as remarkable as her big brother.

Liam is now an incredibly bright, curious three year old with a remarkably high vocabulary and perfect articulation. Almost everyone he meets comments on how incredible his speech is. Many teachers are astounded at his ability to speak in full lengthy sentences with very large words. In addition, his memory is phenomenal. A friend came over again after about two months and my son said, “Hi! I’m happy to see you. Last time you came to my house you were wearing a red shirt.” She found this just as impressive as I did. As we are approaching Halloween, we were remembering trick-or-treating last year and I asked my son if he remembered a funny story when I got startled by a dog decoration. He giggled and replied “Yes mommy, and I remember the boy that came to the door after was wearing a blue shirt and gave me a white spider-man toy.” While we’ve recalled the dog decoration before, we never once mentioned the boy handing out the candy and toys. My son was two at the time and remembered this a year later! I do think that our many hours spent reading together from the very beginning peaked his interest in learning and helped develop his language at an accelerated pace.

Reading to a baby may seem silly but I read to Liam constantly, even when he was too small to look at the book or reach for the pages. I watched as he grew, and at a very early age his eyes would gravitate towards the objects as I read them. I knew he was making connections and he began to be able to point to objects in the book when asked. He started talking early as well. Reading builds the foundation for their language skills, and encourages curiosity¬†about the world all while building their self-esteem. My son’s confidence increased every time he connected his knowledge from books to recognizing things in the real world. We read books all winter and once we started venturing out to farms after learning about animals for months it was like the pages came to life for him. It was magical to watch and I know it is part of what makes him full of enthusiasm with a natural love for learning.


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