“Next to hugging your child, reading aloud is probably the longest lasting experience that you can put into your child’s life. You will savor it long after they have grown up. Reading aloud is important for all the reasons that talking to children is important – to inspire them, to guide them, to educate them, to bond with them and to communicate your feelings, hopes and fears. You are giving children a piece of your mind and a piece of your time.” Jim Trelease
It seems just like yesterday when I read aloud to my babies. Every night, I read aloud to them since birth. Every night, I loved this special time to cuddle when their chubby fingers would point to pictures in the book.
Every night, I did it because the “How to Be A Good Parent” books told me to do it. Back then, I didn’t know the outcome. I just did like any parent who wants the best for their child would do. I read aloud to my babies from birth to their teen years.
In fact, every night, I’d sometimes have to read the same book for the 100th time. (You know what I’m talking about.) However, I truly didn’t get annoyed. I’m a teacher. So, I know that when your child wants you to read the same book over and over again, it’s called imprinting. It is an important step of their language development. The repetition leads to retention. So, the next time you think you’re going to lose your mind by reading the same book for the um-teenth time, just smile knowingly that you are positively developing your baby’s language. It’s part of the process.
Now, those babies that I faithfully read to every night are in their late teens. Now, I see the fruit and wisdom of reading aloud to your baby from birth.
One is in college. He struggled learning to read overcoming mild dyslexia. I shudder to think how much more challenging reading would have been for him if I’d not faithfully read aloud to him since birth. The other, well, he is an avid reader. He always has his nose stuck in a book, and he knows things way beyond his years.
The experts are right, reading aloud to your baby from birth is the single most important activity you can do to build knowledge required for success in reading.
But, you don’t have to take my word for it.