Everyone seems to agree on the abundance of research supporting the data that reading to babies leads to school success. For a long time, we have known that children from homes where engaging vocabulary and conversations were not high a priority suffered the 30 million word gap. This disadvantage affected mostly children from lower social economic backgrounds and meant that by the time a child entered Kindergarten they had heard 30 million less words than their peers from wealthier homes.
Reading To Babies Matters
An engaged and interested adult speaking in full and varied sentences to infants has been shown time and time again to be one of the defining differences in future school success. Recently, Professor Anne Fernald, at Stanford University, published findings that this gap can now be found in children as young as 18 months and is not exclusive to social economic status. She also found that early intervention and high quality conversations with infants made a tremendous difference in overall later achievement. She recommends talking directly to your baby as you go about your day, “Mommy is opening the fridge. What should we make for lunch? You’ll have some milk and I’ll have a sandwich. Maybe I’ll have a banana too. The banana is yellow and it is larger than the orange”. It may seem ridiculous to babble away to an infant, but the research strongly shows that while it may go right over their heads now, it makes all the difference in your child’s future academic success! So go ahead and have conversations with your baby! But be sure you are talking with your child; turn off the radio, TV and other distractions and talk to your baby to help realize their developmental potential.
What to Read to Babies
Babies are going to touch, feel and taste everything, Choose books that can withstand the chewing, banging and repetitive reading babies enjoy. Books with fragile pop up flaps should be saved until your child has learned to handle and care for books. Choose books rich with rhyme, song and simple images to point to and discuss. Reading with young children should be a highly interactive experience, so cuddle up and teach your child that a love of literacy lasts a lifetime!
Related: Top 5 Baby Gifts (books make great baby gifts!)
Looking For Book Ideas?
Don’t forget to check out my Pinterest page with loads of book lists for every age and interest, including babies!