The Benefits of Reading to Your Newborn
It’s become a well-known fact that reading to our kids is extremely beneficial. But if you’re wondering when to start reading to your newborn baby, the answer is right now!
While you may think it’s too early for your baby to reap the benefits of reading, research shows otherwise. In 2014, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a statement recommending that “early literacy development” should begin in infancy, including reading aloud to newborns.
Here are a few of the benefits of reading to your newborn.
It Strengthens the Parent-Child Relationship
In the statement mentioned above, the AAP urged pediatricians to encourage parents to read aloud to their children even from infancy. One reason cited by the AAP was that reading aloud can “enhance parent-child relationships.”
Reading to your newborn is a bonding experience that will also be soothing to your baby, who enjoys the sound of your voice.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics found that parents who read to their babies in the NICU can develop the same feelings of intimacy that the parents of healthy babies develop in the days and weeks after birth.
It Boosts Literacy and Vocabulary
The earlier children are exposed to and begin acquiring language, the more likely they are to master it at an early age. And the more words a baby is exposed to, the more prepared he is to begin reading on his own eventually.
Dominic Massaro, a professor emeritus of psychology, encourages parents to read to babies and toddlers. He says, “You are stretching them in vocabulary and grammar at an early age. You are preparing them to be expert language users, and indirectly you are going to facilitate their learning to read.”
By regularly reading to your newborn, you will send the message early on that reading is a fun activity, fostering a love of reading that may continue for a lifetime.
It Exposes Them to Emotions and Visuals
Reading aloud to newborns introduces them to emotions through the tone in your voice. “The spoken word conveys the idea that words have meaning and certain sounds mean certain things,” says Mary Ann Abrams, MD, Reach Out and Read’s Medical Director. “You simply can’t hear that type of emotion in music or through watching TV.”
In addition, children begin recognizing simple patterns on a page from 0-3 months. As you read aloud to your newborn, he’ll be exposed to basic shapes, letters, and colors that he’ll begin to recognize over time.
The simple act of reading aloud to your newborn can enhance his literacy, vocabulary, emotional intelligence, and recognition of visuals—all while strengthening your parent-child bond.