When to Begin Reading to Your Baby: Insights from the Data

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My local library encourages all parents to read 1000 books to their kids by kindergarten. My son is only 2, but I think I have read Brown Bear Brown Bear more than 1,000 times in the last week. According to a recent report, my son and I have been reading together ever since his birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents read to their children from birth.

When do parents usually start reading to their babys?
Scholastic’s sixth annual Kids & Family Reading Report surveyed 2,718 American Parents in 2016. It found that more than three quarters of parents had children under five years old who began reading aloud to them before the age of one year. About 40 percent did so before their babies were three months old. This is up from 30 percent in 2014. Experts say that’s great news.

When should you begin reading to your child?
I felt silly when I read to my son, who didn’t even know me (let alone a bear brown), but I am so glad we just continued reading despite the awkwardness. Doctors claim that as soon as a baby opens their eyes, they are ready to read.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), reading aloud with our children “stimulates ideal patterns of brain growth and strengthens parent/child relationships at an important time in child’s development. This, in turn builds language, literacy and social-emotional abilities that will last a lifetime.”

It can sometimes feel as if story time lasts forever. According to a Scholastic study, two thirds of parents who have children under five years old read more than one story each time they read it aloud. I can totally relate–as my son began to learn the sign for “more”, he’d ask for another one as soon as it ended. This was especially true if we were at bedtime.

The Best Bedtime Baby Books

In the survey, it was also revealed that children start to choose their own books from a very young age (this is why Brown Bear, Brown Bear had to be hidden). 54 percent of parents with children under two years old said that their children chose their books. The majority of the kids aged three to five choose their own.

The Scholastic Report follows research that was presented in 2017, which found that reading books to your baby while you are still a newborn is a great predictor of developing early-reading abilities. Researchers monitored 250 mom-baby pairs for four long years. They found that children who were read stories as babies later had better vocabulary. Also, frequent and quality story sessions in toddlerhood can predict whether or not a child is able to write their name at age four.

Carolyn Cates, the lead author of the study, presented it at the 2017 Pediatric Societies Meeting in May. She stressed the importance of reading to babies. “What you’re teaching them when you read to them as infants has an impact four years later. They’re about the start elementary school.”

The next generation of elementary school students may be brighter than ever, as more parents are reading to their youngest children. Many children will read 1,000 books by the time they reach kindergarten.

Keep track of how many times you read to your baby
You can use an app such as ParentPal(tm) to track your baby’s routines, like storytimes, sleep and feeding. ParentPal, the all-in one parenting app, has everything you need to track, support and celebrate your child’s healthy development. ParentPal, developed by Teaching Strategies, leaders in early childhood education and creators of Baby Einstein provides research-based parenting tools and guidance. Use the Daily Plan, which includes age-appropriate activities and milestones, as well as Sleep, Health & Wellness, and a library of age appropriate resources to answer your parenting questions in the middle of night.