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Is it worth reading a bedtime story to a newborn?

Seeking Opinion Child Development , Education 3 years ago writer
Parenting + Technology
London, UK

5 experts and 1 parent have answered

expert answer
Linda Schumacher M.Ed. expert
Linda Schumacher M.Ed. Early Education and Care Special Holliston, US
Education expert

Absolutely! Research is telling us that newborns understand far more than we previously thought. Reading to newborns will:

  • Create a cozy and intimate time with your newborn when you will help form a close


  • Give the newborn opportunities to hear lots and lots of language! The early the better to affect vocabulary later on.
  • If the child experiences lots of cozy and comforting experiences with books, he or she will look forward to books in the future. Reading to newborns will foster a love of books early on.

As your newborn begins to focus his or her sight more, he/she will enjoy clear, high-contrast illustrations. Babies love faces! Choose durable, washable books so that your child can safely touch and yes, even taste the book. That's how children explore, by putting things in the mouth.

It's fun to make your own custom book for your child. Collect photos of family members and anything else that is a part of your child's life. Make sure the pictures are clear and simple. Laminate them and bind them into a small book for your child to grow up with. No words necessary!

Have fun!

3 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago
expert answer
Lorraine Allman expert
Lorraine Allman Author, Businesswoman, Mum GB
Careers expert

I agree with Linda. Reading to your baby is a lovely activity that hopefully you will continue for many years beyond the baby stage. They're not going to understand what you're saying of course but what you are doing is teaching them about communication, building listening skills, and in due course introducing concepts such as colours and letters. The more you read aloud the more words they will be exposed to which hopefully will help with their communication as they learn to talk.

I have read research which says by the time babies are 12 months old they will have learned all the sounds they need to speak their native language, so keep reading to them and enjoy watching how they respond with squeals, movement, or in the case of my little boy when he was very young, slowly drifting off to sleep (I just carried on reading!).

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Janet Powell expert
Janet Powell The Parenting Coach Melbourne, AU
Parenting skills expert

The other benefit to reading to your new baby is that he or she will become accustomed to your voice and your physical presence - the shape of your face, the touch of your skin and your unique smell. This is all part of getting to know you and identifying you.

1 Reply Share:
Fact 3 years ago
Sergio I Juarez
Sergio I Juarez Video Game Programmer Toronto, Ontario

When I try to read a story to my baby she tries to eat the book and won't even let me turn a single page! Since she doesn't seem to understand the concept of books yet I simply tell her stories that I remember or that I come up with and she seems to like it. I usually throw in there some special sound effects to make it more interesting :)

1 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Debra Billings expert
Debra Billings Teacher Early Years Education La Crescenta-Montrose, US
Early years professional expert

Reading to infant creates a strong foundation for fostering social development and early literacy. Please enjoy the enclosed link, as it offers a brief synopsis of the benefits of reading to young children as well as an interesting array of resources!

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Fact 3 years ago
expert answer
Patrick Carroll expert
Patrick Carroll Primary Teacher, ICT Coordinator Armthorpe, GB
Education expert

We have read to our daughter from the start and because of that she has a love of literature. She is just turning two, but every evening she will share her books with her toys and read them a story because she wants to share what she has learnt. The other night it was the wonderful Baby Lit Jabberwocky - yes she only knows a couple of words but she wants to share the colourful pictures and turn the pages for her bed buddies. At nursery they say that she is one of the few who will take herself away from the others, sit down on the sofa and read to herself which is fantastic as she has that independence and that want to know more. As we have gone to the library weekly she appreciates the colour, the excitement, the extra vocabulary that books give her. It is wonderful to see her now mimicking the actions and expressions that we did a months ago as she is understanding the importance of these skills. Starting early embeds the hunger and desire.

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Opinion 3 years ago

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