The Benefits of reading to a newborn baby

When Manny was a newborn, I used to read books to him and he was totally not interested. I couldn’t even pass the second page when he was already moving on to something else.

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I love books and I knew I wanted to foster that love for my baby. What I didn’t know was the number of benefits that reading to a newborn baby has! Wow!

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Reading to a newborn baby has many benefits. Here is a breakdown of them plus a list of when to read to your newborn baby boy or baby girl.

What research says about reading to a newborn baby

Research shows it’s never too early to start enjoying books with your little one. Reading boosts your baby’s brain development.

  • By reading to your newborn baby, it exposes the baby to the sound of your voice, this is his favorite sound in the entire world.
  • By reading to your baby, you are building an important connection for emotional health. Reading promotes a close, loving interaction as we read and talk to them. 
  • By reading to your baby, you are building a love for literature and reading and is a great way to immerse them in the sounds and rhythms of speech, which is crucial for language development.
  • By reading to your baby, you are giving a direct boost to their vocabulary and reading skills and will reap the benefits later. Studies have also shown that children who were read to as newborns have a larger vocabulary, as well as more advanced mathematical skills, than other kids their age. 

Research shows that the more words a baby is exposed to, the better prepared he is to eventually start reading on his own –

Read When Baby Wakes Up

Babies are most attentive and engaged when they first wake up in the morning or after a nap. They are usually in a calm state so it is the perfect time to foster reading.

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Play With Books

Look for books that engage in sensory exploration, touch and feel books are great for this. Sit down with your newborn and describe him/her what you see.

Read on the go

Part of my bag of tricks to entertain the baby when we are out is a book. Choose a board book with bright images, textures and high contrast colors.

Act out the story or make up a song, engage with your baby in motion to bring books to life!

Some of Manny’s favorite books are books about songs, or books with animals where we act out the sounds they make. By acting out the books, the stories or songs come to life. You will be surprised at how much fun they can have like this.

Wind Down Before Bed With Books

Routines are important and often books are part of the night time routine. Grab your favorite good night story and cuddle up!

So next time you are wondering how to entertain your baby, remember these three things:

  • Grab a book and cuddle in your favorite reading nook. Support your baby’s brain development every chance you get.
  • Grab a board book with bright colors and simple images. Spend time engaging with your baby and describe what you see.
  • Don’t skip the bedtime story, because reading is one of the most important things you can do to encourage your baby’s language development.

It’s never too soon to read and you might be surprised to know how many great books for babies there are!

45 thoughts on “The Benefits of reading to a newborn baby”

  1. I can’t agree more! Reading is the best and stops using phones or tablet to read for your baby as it is harmful to the baby eyes. Reading with our own voice and hence create bonding too.

  2. Love how wonderful reading is, for anyone at any age. I know my mum and dad read to me as a newborn, all the way through my early school years until I could read on my own, and it made such a huge, positive impact on my growth as a person. When I have kids one day, I will definitely read to them!

  3. Aww! Great post, and I totally agree that exposing kids to things when they’re babies is really effective, and reading is fundamental, as they say. That play area was adorable!

  4. This is so true. The babies brain are still developing at this time so it is perfect to read to them. You will see as when they grow older they also develop the love of reading.

  5. I used to read to my daughter even when I was pregnant, I know that sounds weird but I figured I was doing it to pass time anyway so why not do it out loud. I don’t know if it helped but she has been an avid reader her whole life, so it couldn’t hurt.

  6. Great idea.. Maybe it can also help the baby to sleep faster.. I will share this to my friends who have babies. 😊

  7. Can’t wait for your book event. It’s so important to read to them — regardless of their age. It really helps with their brain development and understanding emotions.

  8. Oh wow, such a love;y topic. I never thought about this. glad to learn something new as a mom.

  9. Good points though.. The more stories you read aloud, the more words your child will be exposed to and the better he or she will be able to talk. Hearing words helps to build a rich network of words in a baby’s brain. … And your baby improves language skills by imitating sounds, recognizing pictures, and learning words.

  10. I started reading to my son when he was an infant. He did develop a speech delay later on, but oddly, learning how to read came very easy to him! Since speech delays run in my family, our pediatrician said it was probably genetic, so I think reading early on helped him significantly!

  11. I loved reading this. My daughters have been read to since they were brand new and they love books even now. I think it helped them form their imagination and helped them read faster.

  12. Aww.. this is really heart warming. used to read books to my baby before. And still doing it while growing up.

  13. I haven’t tried doing this to a newborn, just to a toddler.. Sounds really great to do this though..

  14. There are so many amazing benefits listed here! My mother used to read to me as a child and that definitely opened me up to becoming an avid reader in my adulthood! More mothers needed to be motivated to give their children that experience.

  15. This was such a great article! I made it my priority to begin reading to my little girl at birth, and now that she’s 3, she expects us to read at least 3 books a day, and the library is her favorite place. You are spot on about all of the benefits!

  16. Reading this article kind of recalling the times when my nephew was still about 2 years old. I used to read for him before he slept everytime when I visited my brother’s house. Now he’s already a big boy. Kind of missing those times. It is a good habit to build since young. 🙂

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