Reading is the best way to develop language skills. The baby absorbs the rhythm of your speech and learns to perceive individual sounds in the stream of words. The child begins to understand words, through receptive language. According to research, babies who were read to regularly starting at 6 months developed almost twice the receptive language by 18 months as those who weren't. Rare words, like "gnash" or "rumpus," are usually learned through books. Children's books, compared with everyday talk, use three times as many rare words.
Reading sparks a baby's imagination. Books contain stories, ideas, and vivid illustrations, all of which open the door to a whole new way of thinking. They also develop a child's creativity and nurture natural curiosity. Kids develop critical-thinking skills, like decision-making and problem-solving, which are essential for success in school and beyond.
You'll get your children hooked on books by reading to them at an early age. Children who are read to regularly at a young age are likely to be better and more voracious readers. Short-term: Read from the start and it's more likely your child will sit still for a story and listen once she is a rambunctious toddler.
Storytime boosts memory and attention span. Just see how your toddler can recite a book from memory. To understand a story, children have to hold in mind what happened on the preceding pages, so they keep them all in their working memory. A child needs to listen well and pay attention to remember things, so you are boosting these skills by reading.
Snuggling up to read bonds you and the baby. In fact, it's so good for bonding that the March of Dimes established a Bedside Reading Program in which parents are encouraged to read to their preemies in the NICU. It forces the adult to slow down, to bring the child into his or her lap. It can also bring a baby closer to other caregivers; it is a way of forming attachments.
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Tricia O'Brien & Erika Wortham