Yes, reading to babies is highly recommended. Babies are acutely aware of language and communication at a very early age. As mentioned in an earlier post, and illustrated by a graph, a baby’s brain is extremely receptive to all kinds of stimulus even prior to birth.
The types of books for a very young baby is different than the types for toddlers and for pre-school children. A 0 – 6 month-old child can be kept entertained with simple books with pictures. By introducing books on different subject areas, you will get your child actively interested in the use of books. They will become aware of books as a source of entertainment and diversion. Such stimulation will encourage your child to enjoy books as he gets older. Early exposure will greatly increase your child’s vocabulary, literacy, interest in learning and ultimately success in life.
As you share one of these simple books with your child, you are talking to her. You are showing her pictures in the book and talking about the pictures. A parent talking to his child about the first book illustrated above might go as follows:
“Ooh, look, it’s a cow. Look it’s all black and white. A cow says ‘moooooo’.”
In such a simple statement, the parent has already introduced the word ‘cow’, the colors ‘black’ and ‘white’ and the sound the cow makes. Many repetitions of this each time the book is shared will remain in the baby’s memory. The baby will begin to make many associations to the words used.
The second book pictured here will add a further dimension to a baby’s understanding because it provides textures. Again these can be talked about with the child and the child will make new associations.
The third type of book illustrated in this article can introduce more abstract concepts to a baby. The concept of ‘happy’, or ‘sad’, and other emotions can be introduced with such a book.
Daily sharing of books with your
baby will ensure that she has developed a good vocabulary and strong understanding of many ideas long before she has acquired the physical capacity of speak. Ultimately she will be speaking well before a child who has not received this type of stimulation.