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).
Rhythm forms the roots of language. Infants first hear rhythm, not individual words. Nursery rhymes and songs are soothing to them.
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.
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!
Remember "Pat the Bunny" by Dorothy Kunhardt? Having books that allow your child to touch can be a lot of fun. Watch that little balled up fist stretch out and explore! Remember, too, that pop-up books and such may be destroyed in the process of being loved by your baby, so your treasured copy might be best saved for later.
On page 424 of Anna Karenina? Read some out loud to your baby. Doing your scripture study? Again, read out loud if you'd like. It's not important what you read, but that you read to your baby. So couple up and read the latest issue of your favorite cooking magazine to her. She'll love being close to you and hearing the sound of your voice.
After about six months babies may start to pick out individual words and connect them with objects. Choosing books with simple pictures might be fun, see if you notice your baby starting to understand what "sun" and "dog" are!
Remember that babies can't be trusted to pay their library fines. You may want to own your own sturdy books that baby can really "explore" by chewing, drooling on, and otherwise mutilating. There may be good inexpensive books at thrift stores or at garage sales. Fabric books are fun for this reason as well.
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." BonnevilleBookmark Summer 2004: 4-5.