Although your baby might be at the age where they prefer babbling and cooing – (we’ve almost figured out baby talk) – from an early age, they are developing their language skills through their incoherent babbles and noises. This is exactly why reading is a great way to help develop and improve your baby’s language skills. Reading to them constantly will give them an interest in reading, especially books with animations of characters and animals.
Reading to your baby develops their cognitive skills as well as slowly introducing them to words. The vocabulary might be basic and limited across most books aimed at babies but it offers a good set of words for your baby to be familiarised with. The bright pictures in books will certainly grab your baby’s attention but they will also be listening to you albeit with very little understanding. It’s not only the speaking skills that are being developed here; every time you read a word or sentence aloud, your baby is listening to you and this is where the listening skills start to develop too.
Babies can be content to play with one toy countless times and no matter how many times you play peek-a-boo it never seems boring to them. This may have something to do with their very short memory and attention span. Reading a book to your baby has shown to increase the baby’s memory and attention span.
It’s not only books in print that have these benefits, online interactive books and story-telling is a great way to stimulate your baby’s imagination. Online interactive books often include sound so if there is an image of a tiger, you can click on it to hear its roar. This can be quite a fun activity for your baby and allows your baby to connect a sound to an image.
Reading a book and changing your voice from one character to another will enable your baby to pick up on emotions. You may be reading a dialogue for a character who is happy or sad and your voice may convey that happiness or sadness. These little changes in your tone are something that your baby can pick up on so be careful not to read the book in a monotone voice.
Instilling good habits right from the beginning can help in benefiting your baby when they grow older. By reading to them continuously and constantly, they will develop a love of reading due to their memories of reading with you being positive and enjoyable. Consequently, when they are required to read at school, they will not hesitate to read and will enjoy reading.
On top of these great benefits, reading to your baby also promotes bonding and allows you to spend precious time with your baby. As a mother, the sound of your voice can be very soothing to your baby and will help to create a calm and soothing environment for the both of you.
Remember to read books which are colourful and include different characters, animals and objects!