Reading Aloud (Reading to your Baby)
By Eileen Nelson, M.A.
Early Childhood Specialist
Minnesota Department of Education
Reading to your baby is not only fun but also important for your baby's healthy development. Both you and your baby experience important benefits from a regular reading time together.
Benefits of Reading
- Reading to your infant in a relaxed, calm setting brings you closer and deepens your bond.
- Reading together stimulates your infant's development in ways that support learning to talk and listen and lays the foundation for later reading skills.
- Your baby will learn to link reading with the pleasure of your attention and with fun, which can help your baby enjoy reading throughout life.
Tips for Reading with Your Baby
- Try to read with your baby every day, 30 minutes a day. Do this in short periods, maybe 3 minutes at a time. Read just before bedtime, at midday while your baby is alert or when waiting for a bottle to warm.
- Hold your baby on your lap and snuggle with your infant while you read. Building your relationship with your baby and having fun are important for both of you.
- Point to pictures in the book and say the names of the items in the picture. Stop and make comments to your baby or ask and answer questions. Making your baby part of the reading experience teaches your infant about conversation and enriches your time together.
- Reread favorite books. This can be enjoyable for both you and your baby.
- Choose soft books with big pictures or board books. Let your baby touch the book. If you can find safe books that include different textures, your infant will enjoy touching the textures and you can talk about how the textures feel.
- Visit your library and get suggestions for books. Your library may have a story time for you and your baby or other resources. If you need help with literacy, your library is a great place to ask about adult literacy programs.
- Don't forget to recite nursery rhymes and sing songs with your infant. Your baby will delight in the fun and you will be supporting your baby's beginning language skills.
Remember to make reading an everyday event with your baby. By making it a lasting routine, the benefits to you and your baby will be enormous.
- Bergin, C. (2001). The parent-child relationship during beginning reading. Journal of Literacy Research, 33(4), 681-706.
- Raikes, H.H., Raikes H.A., Pan B.A., Luze, G., Tamis-LeMonda, C.S., Rodriguez, E.T., Brooks-Gunn, J., Constantine, J. & Tarullo, L.B. (2006). Mother-child book reading in low-income families: Correlates and outcomes during the first three years of life. Child Development, 77, 924-941.
- Bus, A.G., Van Ijzendoorn, M.H., & Pellegrini, A.D. (1995). Joint book reading makes for success in learning to read: A meta-analysis on intergenerational transmission of literacy. Review of Educational Research, 65, 1-21.