The benefits of reading to a baby aren't always immediately obvious. Although babies won't understand everything you're reading, it is an extremely important form of stimulation.
Reading aloud to your baby:
improves listening skills
builds memory skills
helps with speech development - Studies have shown that by the age of one, babies have learned all the sounds they require in order to speak their native language
introduces key concepts such as numbers, letters and colours
Another underestimated concept is learning to follow the structure of a book. Some children arrive at pre-school unaware that a book usually contains a story and is read from left to right. Unsurprisingly, children who are frequently read to have more words by the age of 2 than children who have not been read to.
It isn't just words which are important, however. When reading, the child will hear and eventually understand many different tones, emotions and expressive sounds, which helps to improve social and emotional development.
Perhaps the most important reason to read to your baby is that it makes a mental connection between books and the things your child loves the most: your voice and being cuddled. This helps to show your baby that reading is a fun and happy activity.
Recommended books for babies
Here are some highly recommended books for babies and toddlers, based on our own personal experience and positive independent reviews:
Perfectly simple! 100 words, various objects and colours. The author has sold over 200 million copies of his books worldwide, so I guess you could say the proof was in the pudding. Get it now on Amazon
This book has been popular ever since it launched...... in 1982! The child can lift flaps in the book to see what animal is hiding which gives loads of opportunity for expression, surprise and humour. Get it now on Amazon.
Flowing, rhyming text and gorgeous artwork (Helen Oxenbury also illustrated We're Going On A Bear Hunt) make this a great little read-aloud book. Plenty of scope for interaction with this one - you'll soon see little ones looking for their fingers and toes at the appropriate pages. Beautiful. Get it on Amazon.