Babies learn language through social interaction when loving adults talk, coo, smile and read with them. Well before babies are able to speak, they communicate by cooing and babbling, by smiling and sticking out their tongues, and by waving their arms and legs. When we talk and read with them, their sponge-like brains are busily absorbing language, its sounds and its meaning. The video, “Brain Wonders” (Zero To Three), discusses this further. Sometime between 12-18 months, babies begin producing words that are familiar and meaningful to them.
Research shows that a factor that determines future academic success is the number of words a baby hears by age two! Quality interactions involving words – talking through daily rituals, having a conversation, reading – all influence language and vocabulary development. The greater vocabulary a child has, the easier it is for them to learn to read. Nurture relationships, develop language, build pre-literacy skills – by talking and reading to your baby!
Read-Aloud basics for babies:
- Find a quiet time to read – babies find the sound of your voice soothing
- Hold and cuddle your baby when you read (when they start toddling around, you can continue reading even as they run around!)
- Follow your baby’s lead – it’s not reading a story as much as it is a talking experience, so you can start on any page, and look more closely at a picture your baby shows interest in
- Relate what you read, or see in pictures, to your baby’s experience “Look that baby has a nose. I’m going to kiss your little nose!”
- Hands on learning – let your baby hold and mouth a plastic or sturdy board book, while you read a second book
- Read it again! Repeated readings are good for your baby’s language development
Anytime is a great time to snuggle up in a cozy chair with a fluffy blanket and read with your little one. Talk, Snuggle, Read! –Jody