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When to start reading to a baby

mom and baby reading a book

Key points:
1. Reading daily fosters a strong parent-child bond and prepares children for kindergarten.
2. Babies, even very young ones, absorb information from reading time.
3. Babies from birth to eleven months focus on different aspects of reading as they grow.
4. Support your baby’s reading skills through cuddling, soft books, facial expressions, and repetition.

Reading to your baby is very beneficial. Reading every day helps build a healthy parent-child relationship because it’s an opportunity for one-on-one interactions.

Children who are read to every day have stronger language skills when they reach kindergarten and are therefore more prepared to learn how to read. You can read more about the importance of reading to your baby in our previous blog post here.

It might seem strange to think that your baby is actually learning or absorbing something from the reading time, but they are! Even if young babies don’t know what the pictures or words in a book mean, they can focus on them, and they can start absorbing information in this reading time.

Depending on your baby’s age, you can see how they focus on different aspects of the reading experience!

  • Birth to six months: At this age, your little one may calm down by listening to your voice and rhymes while you are reading them a book.
  • Six to eight months: Here, your baby may begin exploring books by looking and touching. They may seem fascinated with pictures and colors. 
  • Nine to eleven months: Your baby may have some favorite picture in the books they read. Usually, these pictures are things familiar for the baby, for example, a smiling child or an object similar to one of your house.  

Foster skills by reading to your baby

Here are some examples of things you can do to support your little one reading skills between birth and eleven months:

  • Cuddle with your little one while you read to them when they are a newborn and during their first months. This will make them feel safe and connected to you.
  • Try using soft books because babies as young as three months olds usually chew on them. 
  • Make facial expressions while you read, change the tone of your voice depending on the dialogues, and try giving different voices to each character.
  • Repeat the books you have already read, because babies learn from repetition and also may like a book that is already familiar to them. Your little one will try to copy the sounds you are making too!
  • Try to have a lot of books in your house and around your baby (in their room or the living room), so your little one can get familiar with books and try to grab some.

Reading to your baby at this age has many benefits. Your little one will learn that gestures and sounds communicate meaning, they will direct their attention to a specific object or person, reach for books and turn the pages with your help, and try to repeat some words they heard! Include reading time in your daily routine so, little by little, your baby can acquire new skills and start mastering communication!


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