5 Reasons Why Reading To Your Baby Everyday Helps Them Thrive
Do you read to him everyday? That’s one of the first questions our pediatrician asks everytime we see him. He’s been asking that question since our son was born! Even though a newborn can’t necessarily comprehend stories and books, there are still so many benefits in reading to them everyday.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m a Children’s Author, so of course I may be bias when I say how awesome children’s books are for kids! However, I also majored in Elementary Education and have a Reading Teacher Minor. These are some of the benefits I have learned throughout my education, career, and also from my son’s pediatrician...
1. It’s another way of bonding.
Of course there are all kinds of ways you can bond with your baby. Reading them books is just another one of those ways! The reason for this is because they are hearing your voice. Your voice is one of the most soothing and familiar noises to them.
This is actually one of the first ways I bonded with my son when he was in the NICU for two and a half weeks after he was born. The days I wasn’t allowed to hold or touch him a lot, I was able to bond by reading to him. He was also able to hear my voice more. Being surrounded by nurses and doctors all the time, I felt more comfortable at first reading to him instead of talking to him. This way I didn’t really worry about anyone listening to me because I was just reading a story. And also bonding with my son!
2. It introduces them to emotions and different kinds of characters.
Every story has a character and a plot which provides different kinds of emotions to be shown. There are so many different kinds of people, animals, and things out there. This is where kids can first start to learn that. They can also hear the different voices and tones you give for different characters to help them realize that everyone has their own voice. Including them!
Books also allow for you to teach kids different kinds of emotions when certain things in life happen. They get to see how a specific thing may make one of the characters feel. They can hear the characters feelings through the tone of your voice. This is all teaching them how they can feel towards things and they aren’t alone in their feelings. They can eventually start to make connections with themselves and the characters in books.
3. It provides them with a larger vocabulary.
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Development & Pediatrics found that children who are read to everyday have a larger vocabulary than those who aren’t. A kid who is read to everyday is exposed to around 78,000 words a year! With that math, by the time they are 5 they are exposed to up to 1.4 million words. All these words were just from story time too, so this wasn’t including words they heard outside of story time. The study also found that the more words a kid is exposed to the better off their language skills will be.
4. They begin to learn how to “read” a book.
Sure they’re not going to be reading words like cat and hat for a few more years. However, reading a book isn’t just about being able to read the words. Before you can even begin learning how to read words in a book, you have to know how a book works. How to hold a book, how to change the pages, how you start on the left page and then the right page, etc.. Kids learn this by being read to. By watching how that person uses the book.
5. It exposes them to colors, shapes, numbers, and letters.
Illustrations in books are full of so many colors, shapes, numbers and letters! These are all things we want toddlers to be able to recognize. That doesn’t mean you wait to expose them to those things until they are toddlers. The more exposure they get, the faster they will learn and comprehend them! Newborns love the contrast of colors because it’s easier for them to see, so reading books with bright colors will definitely help peak their interest too!
With all this being said, I think it’s safe to say that reading to babies will help them in so many aspects of their life. You also don’t have to only read children‘s books to them. When they’re young babies, you could even read them one of the books you’re reading. Or you could read them something off of your phone or off of a recipe. Really you can read them anything and it would be beneficial to them in some type of way!