Reading to someone who seems more interested in chewing the book may feel silly. However, it's one of the best things you can do for your child's learning.
Until we have children, most of us probably haven’t read aloud since we were children ourselves. You might not immediately see the benefits to reading aloud with your baby—you might even feel silly doing it. But children who are read to from an early age are more successful when learning to read later for several reasons:
Because I’m a fast reader, I used to stumble over words when I first read to my son. I quickly learned to slow right down. Reading slowly helps children work out who’s saying what and helps them to follow the storyline. Nowadays, before I read a new story to my son, I read it to myself first. This allows me to work out what voices I’m going to give each character. It’s so much fun. I can be as silly as I like and I’ve got an appreciative audience of one.
There are so many excellent children’s books it can be difficult knowing which ones to choose. Brightly colored picture books attract babies’ attention. Rhyming stories are easy for young children to follow, and help them learn the rhythm of language. Poems inspire a sing-song voice when reading, which babies find pleasing to listen to. The wonderful thing about poems is that they are easy to remember and can be recited in the car or at times when reading a book isn’t possible. The Owl and the Pussycat is my son’s firm favorite.
There are many educational reasons why reading to babies is important, but perhaps most important is that reading together helps forge a close bond between parent and child that will hold long after the story has been forgotten.