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The benefits of reading to babies

Sharing stories, singing, and talking helps baby’s development, and is a great way to stimulate their imagination.

These activities – done every day – help your baby to familiarise themselves with sounds, words, language and eventually the love and joy of books. This builds baby’s early literacy and listening skills in a way that is fun and engaging for them.

For parents, reading is also a great time to build the bond between you and your child.

Reading benefits

According to Nemours KidsHealth, by the time babies reach their first birthday they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language, and the more stories you read out loud, the more words you baby will hear and the better they will be able to talk.

The benefits of reading to your baby include:

  • Teaching them about communication
  • It introduces them to number, letter, shape, and colour concepts in a fun way
  • It builds their memory, vocabulary and listening skills
  • It gives babies information about their environment and the world around them.

Tips when reading

Here are some tips on how you can help your baby learn, adapted from Australia’s parenting website Raising Children:

  1. Read slowly, spending time on each page after you read the words. Baby can then focus on the shapes of words and the pictures.
  2. Point out familiar and new things your baby sees on the page, instead of reading the words. The more your children hear words and sounds, they’ll learn to recognise them.
  3. Change the tone or your voice when you read, as baby will then pickup different speech sounds. This is part of the way baby learns how to make sounds.
  4. Try using funny sounds, play and have fun while reading to baby.

Some general advice about reading:

  1. Try to share at least one book a day and create a routine around it. For example, you might like to read a book to baby at the end of the day to help baby relax before going to bed.
  2. Turn off all background noise and put your phone on silent so baby can hear your voice clearly.
  3. Hold your child in a way they can see your face and the expressions you make, as well as being able to see the book. Babies love faces!
  4. Let your baby be the guide on how long you read to them. Some days babies and children don’t have much interest in reading, and other days they might not get enough. All of this is okay! Be guided by their interest.

Our view

As parents ourselves, we love nothing more than reading to our children. It makes you feel young again – and there are often take away messages from books that even we need to be reminded of sometimes!

There are some books that resonate with babies from when they are only a few months old, and other books they might get more excited about as they get older. Do not be surprised if they are not interested in a book at age one, because when they turn three years old, they might rediscover it as their favourite book! You may even get tired of reading it! Just think of all the great learning they’re getting from it and how much joy it brings them (that might help keep you going 😊).  

As for the most-loved book in our house, it is a tough one as we have so many. Where’s the Green Sheep by Mem Fox and Judy Horacek though never gets old! Tip: The hard book is great for little, grabby hands that aren’t so delicate with paper pages.  

At Beechville Lane, we proudly stock the Where’s the Green Sheep hard book plus many more of Australia’s most loved baby and children’s books. From the classical Possum Magic by Mem Fox to modern favourites like I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You by popular Australian actor-turned-radio-host Kate Ritchie, we’ve got new families covered.

We’ve also recently added some titles by popular Australian authors Aaron Blabey and Nick Bland. Nick writes the popular Cranky Bear series which are a hit with young children, and Aaron is behind the Pig the Pug series. His latest book I Need a Hug is super cute.  

For our full range be sure to check out our “Build Your Own Hamper” section on our website.

Further reading

If you’d like to read more about the benefits of reading to your children, here is a great article by Scholastic: Raise a Reader: A Parent Guide to Reading for Ages 0-2

The Scholastic article breaks down what is likely to be happening for you and your baby in each age category. For example: Birth to nine months, nine to 18 months and 18 months to two years old.

Our article sources: