Do You Read To Your Baby? Why You Should

Two-thirds of parents never read to their babies, says a new survey. Of more than 500 British parents surveyed, 64 percent weren’t reading with their babies at seven months. This is a critical time for language development. In fact, 35 percent of American kids start kindergarten without sufficient language skills, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Reading also enhances social skills, and parent-child bonding.

The AAP recommends you start reading to your baby at 6 months; even though he can’t make sense of the words, they will still stimulate his brain.

I started reading to my son, Max, when he was in the NICU after he had a stroke at birth. My friend Wendy had bought me a copy of Dr. Seuss’s Oh, The Places You’ll Go! I sat in a chair next to his incubator and spoke into some air holes in the plastic. I was reading it for both of us: I wanted Max to hear my voice, and I wanted to hear my own voice speaking encouraging words I didn’t yet feel in my heart.

After Max came home from the hospital, I read to him all the time. I wanted to give him any headstart he could possibly get; he was at risk for major cognitive impairment. Today, at 9, he’s doing pretty well for himself. It wasn’t just my reading to him, of course, but I’m sure it helped. He’s started to read this year, and still loves when I read to him. (These days, it has to be something involving Lightning McQueen).

Check out this list of The All-Time Best Books for Babies (including classics—Pat The Bunny!—and great new faves), plus smart pointers about how to read to them.

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  1. by Ann

    On June 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I read to my twin girls everyday when they were in the NICU and at home Now they are avid readers at 14.