The earlier you start reading to your children the better. Numerous studies suggest that reading to newborn babies is beneficial, not only for the development of cognitive functions but also because it helps create a bond between parent and child.
The Benefits of Reading to your Newborn
Reading to your newborn child provides both of you with quality bonding time. Your child will learn to recognize your voice and this experience will increase the intimacy. Studies have shown that reading to your child accelerates the bonding process by weeks if not months.
Reading to your children also improves their language skills, exposing them to a greater variety of sounds, and words. Studies have found a direct link between the number of words a child hears in a day and their results on standardized tests; the more words they hear the better they score.
The exposure to language also teaches them early in life that there is a link between sound and meaning. This reinforces the idea that different meaning is conveyed by changing the sound of your voice and using inflection. As they are exposed to a greater range of inflections, they improve their ability to recognize emotions through sound.
Studies have also found a correlation between reading to your children and improved math skills.
Most important of all reading will establish a routine in your child’s life. Reading time is associated with fun, and not chores. This makes it more likely they will keep the practice as a hobby.
What books to read to them
With early new-borns, you can read anything to them like a magazine or that novel your struggling to finish. At this stage, it is more important that the baby bonds with you, through your voice more than anything else. This is the reason it is recommended that you read to your baby and that you do not use audio-books.
When a new-born reaches 3-6 months it starts to develop visually and as such it is recommended that you switch over to a book that is visually orientated. Different babies respond to different pictures, some like photographs, others like brightly colored children’s books whilst other respond better to interactive books It is recommended that you experiment to see what your child responds best to.
All new-borns enjoy the repetition of rhythm and sing-song phrases such as ‘rub-a-dub-dub.’