The majority of brain development occurs in the first three years of a child’s life. Reading to and sharing books with babies and young children, and giving them time to respond, feeds their brain, helps them learn new words and grows their vocabulary.
This video is a great example of sharing a book with a child. The father and child, Maddi, play and enjoy the book while sharing it. Watch as Maddi uses the pictures in the book to pretend and play with her father.
Reading aloud combines the benefits of talking, listening and storytelling within one activity and helps to build the important foundations for language development. Here are some of the key benefits of reading to your child:
- Talking and listening to young children develops their social and literacy skills and reading aloud is a good way of encouraging two-way communication
- Babies love the sound of their parents’ voices and reading aloud to them can be calming during times of distress or unease. The appearance of their favourite book and book characters can be a very soothing experience and help build a bond between parent and child
- Books introduce children to the exciting world of stories and can help them learn how to express their own thoughts and emotions
- Stories provide parents and carers with a structure to help them talk aloud to children and listen to their responses. They help you be silly, overcome adult inhibitions and they are great topics for conversation
- Books are an important source of new vocabulary
- Songs and rhymes are especially good for children as the rhythms and repetitive language make it easier for babies to learn language structures and skills
- Giving your child time to think about what is going to happen in the book, or reflect on what has just happened, builds their language and brain development
This article was originally created in collaboration with BookStart for our annual Talk to Your Baby conference. The video clip is courtesy of Siren Films.