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Reading from the Very Beginning

As a new parent, you may wonder whether you should hold off on reading until your baby is old enough to understand the words – or at least sit in your lap long enough to listen to a story. The answer is simple: it’s never too early!

Mother reading to newborn at night in light dimmed room

Reading from the time your baby is born is the best way to help boost your child’s language and vocabulary skills early on – long before they even say their first word!  In fact, studies show that children whose parents frequently read to them know and understand many more words by age two than children who have not been read to regularly.

Did you know that your unborn baby can start hearing your voice around the fifth month of pregnancy? It may seem early but reading aloud during that time helps to stimulate your baby’s brain cells, helping them to grow stronger and develop more fully.

Once your baby is born – amidst all the diaper changes and sleepless nights – reading with your newborn can be a special, calming activity you can enjoy together. Reading may even spark some of your baby’s first reactions through your silly voices and facial expressions!

Benefits of Reading Aloud from Day 1:
  • Builds language awareness, listening, and memory skills.

  • Introduces concepts such as stories, letters, colors, and shapes in a fun way.

  • Promotes bonding and closeness, especially because babies are soothed by the sound and rhythm of their parent’s voice.

  • Gives babies information about the world around them, while sparking their imagination.

  • Instills a lifelong love of books and learning.

I started reading to my daughter when she was just days old. I read her whatever I was reading. On preschool, she had a vocabulary of an 8-10 year old. She is a college graduate.
Mary Graham BarberParent

First 5 California
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First 5 California
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