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Reading With Your Baby

young boy reading with woman

It's never too early to begin reading to your baby. In fact, the sooner you start reading to her, the better.

Not only do babies love the cuddle time while being read to by Mom or Dad, children who are read to score higher on IQ tests than those who aren't—partly because children who are read to are exposed to more words. And that exposure can take place from the very beginning.

Here are some great ideas about getting the most out of reading time.



When should I start?

Dr. Olene Walker, Utah's past governor, says about reading to children: "We must begin reading with children from the moment they come home from the hospital. Even a newborn will enjoy hearing the sound of your voice and being held in your lap" (Walker 5).   
Newborns recognize their parents' voices at birth. A one-day-old baby will turn towards his mother's or father's voice and prefer their voices to anyone else's.   
Just hearing you speak can be comforting to baby, and reading time can become a time when baby feels secure.


Rhythm forms the roots of language. Infants first hear rhythm, not individual words. Nursery rhymes and songs are soothing to them.   
Some parents notice their babies will actually rock back and forth to nursery rhymes and hold more still for other types of reading.   
Make up songs or rhymes, or "Find a nursery rhyme book that is fun for you to read" ("Teachers").

baby feet resting in adult hands

Keep reading time fun

Make reading time a fun time. It should be a time you can relax with your baby. Don't worry if it's short, just try to get a little reading in every day.   
Point to the pictures as you read, the day your baby's chubby finger lands right on a ladybug after you say it will come quicker than you think.   
Let yourself read in an animated way. Babies attend better to large swings in pitch, so "baby talk" away!

Enjoy this time when you are in total control of your child's media choices! In order to keep reading time fun, choose things that you want to read. Picking out children's books and nursery rhyme books you enjoy is a great idea. Have favorites from when you were a kid? Now's your chance!

woman hugging boy

Reading to your baby can be one of the very best ways to bond with her. Reading to her will also increase her IQ and ability to interact with others.

So cuddle up, grab any reading material you want, and start reading!


Walker, Ardith. "What First Grade Teachers Wish Parents Would Teach Their Kids." Unpublished article.   
Walker, Olene S. "Read With a Child." Bonneville Bookmark Summer 2004: 4-5.