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The Importance of Reading to your Baby

  1. #1
    GeoDerek is offline Registered User
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    The Importance of Reading to your Baby

    The Standard published a great article on the importance of reading to your baby. The following is a short excerpt:

    The importance of reading, not in the form of school textbooks, but as a family activity since birth, cannot be over-emphasized.

    Research has found the single most important predictor of future intelligence, school success and social skills is the number of words babies hear each day in the first few years of their life.

    Psychologist Percie Wong So-ying emphasizes that a child's brain is 90 percent developed before the age of four.

    So parents should make the best use of this golden period to stimulate the child's senses - of smell, hearing, touch, taste and seeing - so a connection or path is made in the child's brain.

    Repeated actions can strengthen this connection. Therefore, if children have been read to daily from birth, they will have a vocabulary of 10,000 to 20,000 words by the time they reach Primary One.

    If not, they will know fewer than 3,000 words since we use only about 1,000 basic words in everyday expression, Wong said.

    The child will also be able to learn rare words, ones that are not used on a regular basis, through reading aloud by the parent every day. The benefit for a child is a huge headstart before joining school, Wong noted.

    http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_d...=1&d_str=&fc=4
    According to Kidshealth.org reading aloud:

    • teaches a baby about communication
    • introduces concepts such as stories, numbers, letters, colors, and shapes in a fun way
    • builds listening, memory, and vocabulary skills
    • gives babies information about the world around them


    Believe it or not, by the time babies reach their first birthday they will have learned all the sounds needed to speak their native language. The more stories you read aloud, the more words your child will be exposed to and the better he or she will be able to talk. Hearing words helps to build a rich network of words in a baby's brain. Kids whose parents frequently talk/read to them know more words by age 2 than children who have not been read to. And kids who are read to during their early years are more likely to learn to read at the right time.

    When reading, your child hears you using many different emotions and expressive sounds, which fosters social and emotional development. Reading also invites your baby to look, point, touch, and answer questions — all of which promote social development and thinking skills. And your baby improves language skills by imitating sounds, recognizing pictures, and learning words.

    But perhaps the most important reason to read aloud is that it makes a connection between the things your baby loves the most — your voice and closeness to you — and books. Spending time reading to your baby shows that reading is a skill worth learning.

    http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/...ng_babies.html
    What books have you been reading to your baby?
    Last edited by GeoDerek; 11-13-2012 at 03:19 PM.
    evgreen and marie313 like this.

  2. #2
    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    Couldn't agree more. I've been reading to my son since he was 3 months old. He's now 2 years of age and speaking in full sentences.

    He also recognizes the difference between English and Chinese writings since I read to him in both languages (although I mainly speak to him in one), and is able to 'switch channels' when addressing English & Chinese speakers.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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    charade is offline Registered User
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    I do a nightly reading session with my two-year-old (started when he was about 1 because before that he wasn't interested) because I love reading and would be hugely disappointed if my kids didn't love reading too but I do question some of the things in this article. As in, is reading the only way to develop these skills? I'm assuming a child can learn all of the above if the parents communicated a lot and expressively with the child. So none of the above convinces me that reading is a must-do.

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    GeoDerek is offline Registered User
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    I agree charade. The Standard is not too clear about what research led researchers to conclude the number of words a baby hears is, "the single most important predictor of future intelligence, school success and social skills".

    I also wonder why, "Cold reading, or (reading) in a flat tone, will not benefit the child," if it is the number of words that are most important.

    Article aside, reading with a child is more than a development technique; it is a blessing.
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  5. #5
    Jomama is offline Registered User
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    Regarding the positive correlation between infant neural development and the number of words they hear, I read that it is scientifically well proven. Hear this http://www.brainrules.net/brain-rule...aby-smart-baby
    (Scroll down to "From the Audio Book" box and click "Talk to your baby -- a lot")

    Of course, this can again be done through everyday conversation. Reading, however, help increase our topics of conversations, and sometimes even help me relate important subjects to my child, such as potty training and caring for others' feelings.
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    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Reading stimulates more things than just language. Reading is a special time when parents stop what they're doing and focus specifically on the child and the book. It's a very close bonding time, actually. I already have a very close bonding time with my toddler daughter through our strong breastfeeding relationship but as my older child (son) is more active and less likely to just snuggle in close, reading is a time when he's willing to sit on my lap or sit near me and experience that closeness. Even in regular conversation, parents could be doing a number of things (checking messages on their phone, paying attention to the TV, thinking about a shopping list) but reading is different as it's a time when you have to "shut off and shut out" the other distractions in order to read. I think children benefit from that undivided attention. It also gives parent and child a common focus or goal. I think reading also helps parents to re-connect with their "inner child" and see the world through a child's eyes. Since having children I read so many childrens' books that it's almost like an addiction for me! I enjoy childrens' books far more than some adult books now!

    Also, reading is a way that parents model for their children the importance of books--not just in a schooling context but for personal enjoyment and development. It also models the concept that "the answer is out there, we just have to look" and that books are our "ticket to the world." The stories in fiction books stimulate our imaginations. The information in non-fiction books helps us to question and understand the world more. By giving books and literacy a high value (and whatever we spend time on, generally is what we value) we communicate that value to children. They pick up the habit and understanding that problems can be solved and that we should always be searching to know more. Basically, reading to children can stimulate their problem-solving skills and thus give them higher scores on "intelligence tests."

    I often marvel at my son's grasp of spoken language--both Chinese and English. The way he expresses himself seems to me to be even more mature than some primary school students and he's in kindergarten. He has a very good handle of language and can "switch channels" easily and explain concepts from one language to the other which I just am amazed at as I only speak one language really well. He has been read to in two languages since he was a small baby and now our helper is teaching him some Tagalog vocabulary as well which he is excited about because he looks forward to traveling to her country one day and speaking with her and her family in her own language there. :)
    Jomama and keninhk like this.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  7. #7
    keninhk is offline Registered User
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    Do agree reading aloud focuses attention even if the baby doesn't comprehend what you are saying.

    Question, does it matter what you read? Can it be from a newspaper or journal article or advice/website regarding 'suitable' reading matter?

    Sent from my GT-I9100 using GeoClicks Mobile

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    Gemma is offline Registered User
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    A speech pathologist once told me that rhymes or stories that rhyme are fantastic because they teach intonation, melody, rhythm ... All good things that help develop speech.

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