Baby Talk

Our little bookworm gobbling up a book!

Our little bookworm gobbling up a book!

Communicating with baby can start before bub is even born. In this article we look at the importance of reading to baby from birth and how this can help develop their language skills.

Reading to Baby

The Importance of Starting Early

Acording to Mem Fox, author of “Reading Magic”

“If parents understood the huge educational benefit and intense happiness brought about by reading aloud to their children, and if every parent—and every adult caring for a child—read aloud a minimum of three stories a day to the children in their lives, we could probably wipe out illiteracy within one generation.”

This is something many Early Childhood professionals firmly believe.

Reading to your baby should start as early as possible, even before birth!

It will aid with their brain development, speech skills, as well as simply bonding with baby, which will help in other developmental areas as well.

Born to be wired

When a child is born, only twenty-five percent of the brain is developed, and the rest develops within the first year of life. This development is like wiring up an electric circuit.

Babies are born with about 100 billion neurons or individual brain cells, but they are not connected. During babies early years, trillions of connections between the brain cells are being made. Babies brains are being wired and primed for learning.

This is a crucial time in your child’s life, where reading aloud and simply talking to your child will help them tremendously with brain development along with their speaking skills. “The sense of dislocation and confusion that occurs when kids and parents don’t connect disturbs children long after childhood is over,” (Reading Magic pg. 21).


Reading aloud

  • Teaches a baby about communication
  • Introduces concepts such as stories, numbers, letters, colours, and shapes in a fun way
  • builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills
  • gives babies information about the world around them

Believe it or not, by the time babies reach their first birthday they will have learned most of the sounds needed to speak their native language. They just don’t know how to form words yet.

The more stories you read aloud, the more words your child will be exposed to. This builds a rich database of words in your babies brain. Children whose parents frequently talk/read to them know more words by age 2 than children who have not been read to. And kids who are read to during their early years find it easier to learn to read when the time is right.


How baby learns

For the first few months, your infant picks up on the rhythm of language—rather than the content—as he hears you speak. So just talking to baby and reading aloud exposes them to the concept of language.

Repetition is essential for the words to sink in.

Repetition is essential for the words to sink in.

Repetition is essential for the words to sink in.

When reading, your child hears you using different emotions and making expressive sounds, being exposed to this fosters their social and emotional development.

Vary the pitch of your voice or use different voices for different characters. Use emotion when reading aloud or talking to baby.

“Oh no here come the bear, he is very scaaaaary”


What to read?

When it comes to reading materials, anything goes, the magazines you got at the hospital, or even that novel you’ve been trying to finish since you were pregnant.

You don’t have to get all the way through a book, either. Just taking a few minutes here and there to read aloud to your child can make a big difference.

My husband gets very frustrated with baby books as he says its just page turning. So he reads her science fiction novels.

He gets her attention for about 10 minutes at a time, But they are all his favourite, well know stories, so he doesn’t mind reading bits and pieces. She doesn’t know how to follow a story yet, so she is just getting the rhythm and sounds of language.

Mommy simply makes up extra story for each page.

When reading hairy Mclary I point to the characters and describe them, ask my bub questions about them and get her to touch each new character or point to her body parts when described in a book.

Reading this way invites your baby to look, point, touch, and answer your questions — all of which promote social development and thinking skills. Your baby improves language skills by imitating sounds, recognising pictures, and learning words.


Attention Span – before they gobble the book

A newborn will simply sit in your lap while you read, as they cannot move about or reach for the book. As they become more mobile and inquisitive it can get tricky. Around 3 months they will start trying to eat the book, scrunch the pages and wriggle about. This is a good time to invest in waterproof or thick card books. Don’t get out your great grandmothers heirloom edition of Alice in Wonderland as it will get munched and scrunched.

By 7 months our little girl is now starting to enjoy being read to and understands its time to read a story. The more you read to them the more they will recognise books and story time.


The most important thing about reading to baby is that they are making a strong connection between the thing they love most in the world – your closeness and your voice – and books. You are teaching them that reading is enjoyable and important. Something they will carry with them later in life, hopefully!

Always enjoy reading, if neither of you are having a good time, put the book down and try something else. There will be days when you can read 20 books to bubs delight and others when they want nothing to do with it. Make sure you enjoy reading to them by reading something you enjoy, there are a lot of different baby books out there to choose from, cheeky ones, cute ones, educational ones.


Have fun with your little bookworm, let us know your favourite books in the comments.

Lara Lynch.


One thought on “Baby Talk

  1. Pingback: Quirky Workshops | Quirky Bubba Blog

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