Reading to Your Baby Every Day is Good for Them, Research Shows

Many people think that reading to babies and toddlers isn’t practical or productive because they don’t fully understand what you’re saying. But recent research has shown that reading aloud to them provides a slew of benefits that make daily parent-child readings a powerful tool for their growth and development.

A study by researchers in Charles Sturt University found that daily reading with infants (aged between one to two years old) can improve their literacy, language, and numeracy success when they’re older.

The study involved over 3,500 infants (aged one to two years) and their caregivers, looking at whether reading books to their infant children made an impact on their literacy, language, and numeracy skills.

Findings showed that parent-child book reading during infancy resulted in small but positive relationships with reading, spelling, grammar, and numeracy scores when the kids were in grades three and five (aged eight to eleven).

Early parent-child book reading also predicted positive numeracy outcomes for children in grade three and positive writing outcomes for children in grade five.

Not only does this study support the benefits of early reading, but it also establishes its role in preventing literacy issues in later life. This is important because literacy issues can negatively affect an adult’s quality of life, mental health, social skills, and employment opportunities.

child reading

As the study’s lead researcher, Dr Michelle Brown, says in the university’s report:

“Parent-child book reading with infants is widely recommended and considered one of the most effective parent-child activities promoting language and literacy development. However, until now there has been limited evidence that reading books with infants (aged one to two years) strengthens later literacy skills.”

So if you want to set up your child for better learning and literacy in higher grades and later life, it helps to read to them every day.

The Benefits of Reading to Your Baby Every Day

Aside from the academic benefits of daily reading sessions with your baby, it also offers the following benefits:

  • Bond with your little one. Reading daily helps you bond with your child emotionally, helping them feel warm, safe, and loved.
  • Develop their listening skills. Even if they don’t understand the words you’re saying, daily reading sessions helps them become familiar with the different sounds, rhythms, and inflections of words.
  • Develop their visual skills. Children’s books are full of colour and drawings, which can help them understand shapes, letters, colours, and patterns.
  • Develop their memory. Seeing similar shapes and colours repeatedly can help your child recognise patterns, which can help them remember letters and numbers as they learn to read and write later.
  • Stimulate their imagination and curiosity. Reading to your child daily can stir their imagination and curiosity even more, which can help their creativity and desire to learn more about the world.


Tips for Your Daily Reading Sessions

  • Make it fun. The more fun and playful your reading sessions are, the easier it will be for your baby to learn and benefit from it. Make different sounds and noises. Sing songs. Bounce your baby on your knee or cuddle them as you read. Making it fun and playful will help make reading a positive experience rather than a chore (like it commonly is in school). 
  • Read books with plenty of colours and images. This will help make reading more exciting and stimulating for your child.
  •  Be expressive. Use different sounds, voices, and reading volumes, especially when speaking as different characters. This can help your child understand the connections between sound and emotion.
  •  Do it when they’re relaxed. The last thing you want is to force your child to read. Avoid reading to your child when they’re tired or irritable.
  •  Use plenty of repetition. Children love repetition, and they learn a lot from it. Use this to your advantage by repeating and emphasising sounds, words, and pages that they love.


Want More Tips and Advice?

Check our blog for more helpful tips and advice on parenting and caregiving. If you have any questions about reading to your young child, feel free to contact us.