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Should I be reading to my baby? He can’t even talk yet!

May 16, 2014

By YOU Parent Facilitator

A mother and father hold their son as they read to him.

Question: Should I start reading to my 6-month-old son? I don’t think he knows what I’m saying, so do I really need to read to him before he learns to talk?

Answer: It might not make sense when you first think about it, but reading to your baby now will help him learn to talk sooner and will help develop his vocabulary.

Specifically, reading to him provides visual stimulation, story element introduction, sequence processing, and information synthesis. These are more clinical terms that mean that reading to him will help his brain develop.

As you try reading to him, start with these simple techniques to engage different parts of his brain and senses.

  • Let him touch books that have different textures.
  • Point to a picture in the book and tell him what it is. For example, if there is a picture of a bear, point to it and say, “bear.”
  • Repeat the name of the image a few times while pointing to it to reinforce the word association.
  • As he gets older and learns to talk, point to a picture in the book and ask him what it is. “What is this animal?”

Aside from benefitting his brain development, when you read to him you cater to his emotional well-being. As you try reading to him, sit close and hold him while speaking in a gentle and loving voice. This approach will boost his sense of security and your bond together.

By starting to read to your son when he is six months old, you will help foster his emotional and academic achievement as he grows through family bonding, word association, and pronunciation practice.

For more information on reading to your baby, see the first book in the YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher book series by Sunny P. Chico, Through the Early Years.

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