Why should I read to a baby? They can’t understand me anyway. There are several important reasons to read to infants starting from birth! It teaches a baby about communication. It introduces concepts they’ll need later in life related to numbers, letter, colors and shapes. It builds listening, memory and vocabulary skills. And it gives babies information about the world around them. Babies are born wired to speak and understand every language in the world, but by their first birthday they’ve learned all the sounds that they’ll need to speak the language or languages they’ll need and the brain ‘prunes back’ those language areas for languages the child has never heard.
Most importantly, though, a baby makes a connection to the reader whether that is a parent, grandparent or a caregiver at child care. This teaches positive feelings around reading that last a lifetime!
The stakes are high! Children’s literacy skills when they enter school are a predictor of later reading success. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, one of three children start kindergarten without the foundations in literacy they need. Reading rates at the end of third grade are the single largest predictor of high school graduation, but 2/3 of all children and 80% of children in poverty fail to develop reading proficiency by third grade.
Many adults think that children under age one are simply too young to gain anything from being read to, so share what you’ve learned in this blog with others. Children’s futures depend on it!