Undoubtedly you already know it’s important to read aloud to children. When you read out loud to little ones, their vocabulary grows, their comprehension improves, and they learn to listen. If you continue to read out loud as baby grows, your child will begin to respond to you with coos and giggles — the baby way of communicating! But that’s not the only reason to read often and start early.
Reading out loud has hidden emotional benefits for you and your sweetie. For example:
- It promotes parent-child bonding. Reading while your baby rests in your arms or sits on your lap helps the two of you create a deep connection. Even if you can manage only a quick poem or a pared-down story once a day, your child will benefit greatly from one-on-one attention.
- It’s just plain soothing. Slot in time to read when you feel relaxed and have no interruptions, and baby is full, alert and not cranky. Aim for low-key (not overly stimulating) time together. There’s no need to finish a book in a single session. You can skip around and even just check out pages that interest your little one. If baby loses interest or gets fussy after a few minutes, put the book down and try again later.
- It creates teachable moments. Even the youngest babies respond to rhythm, rhyme, and repetition, which is why classic catchy poems (“Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” or “Jack and Jill”) are so appealing. Try short rhythmic sentences with fun-to-say words or cute animal sounds to capture your baby’s interest.
- It lets kids preview exciting, new adventures. When you read about everyday experiences — a trip to the farm, fun at the park, or a drive to Grandma’s — you help your child make sense of the world all around.
- It makes learning fun and stimulating. Don’t bother to “teach” at this point. Just encourage your baby to take in all the wonderful designs and pictures when you read together. There’s plenty of time for more challenging reading material later.
The childhood experts at Highlights are passionate about inspiring all parents to read to their babies. That’s why Hello Magazine was created — to make it easy, special and enriching for parents to read to their babies. Each monthly issue introduces a fun theme like Sounds or Shapes to help young children get to know their world. Plus, every section has helpful tips for parents on how to use each story.
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