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Start reading to baby as soon as possible, pregnant mom and baby reading together at home.

Why and When to Start Reading to Baby: Benefits and Easy Reading Tips

Is there a better gift for your little learner than your voice? Discover when to start reading to baby and how simple stories empower their growing minds. Learn how to make reading a joyful experience that strengthens your bond and sets the stage for lifelong learning.

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Parenthood is a beautiful whirlwind—filled with love, laughter, and never-ending to-do lists. Questions like when to start reading to baby or how to support your child’s development naturally swirl in your mind! Amidst the busy days, finding time for dedicated learning activities can feel overwhelming.

But here’s the wonderful secret: reading aloud to your baby, even for just a few minutes a day, is one of the simplest and most powerful ways you can boost their development and set them up for a lifetime love of learning.

Why Read to Your Baby? The Power of Your Voice

Baby looking at a picture book while on tummy time. Baby's brain is soaking up information at an astounding rate.
Studies show that being read to regularly can improve a child’s attention span, memory, social-emotional skills, and even school readiness. | via TigerKubz
  • Language explosion: Your baby’s brain is soaking up information at an astounding rate. Reading introduces them to new words, sentence structures, and the rhythm of language, all of which lay the groundwork for their own communication skills.
  • Stronger bond: Reading time is cuddle time! This shared experience builds a deep sense of connection, security, and joy between you and your little one.
  • Lifelong readers: Children who have positive early experiences with books are far more likely to become avid readers themselves, opening up a world of knowledge and imagination.
  • Beyond the basics: Studies show that being read to regularly can improve a child’s attention span, memory, social-emotional skills, and even school readiness.

When Should I Start Reading to My Baby? The Sooner, the Better!

From the day your little one arrives, your voice becomes a powerful learning tool. Reading aloud, even for just a few minutes a day, builds a foundation for language, literacy, and a lifelong love of learning.

TigerKubz is a proud partner of Read Aloud 15, whose mission is to encourage families to read together for at least 15 minutes daily.

By starting from birth, your baby will hear over 27,000 minutes of rich language and stories by their fifth birthday. Imagine the incredible head start you’ll give them!

Getting Started: Tips for Busy Parents

  • Start early: It’s never too soon to start reading to your baby! Those early snuggle sessions with a book are beneficial from day one.
  • Cozy reading nook: Find a comfy spot where you and your baby can relax. This could be a rocking chair, your bed, or a soft blanket on the floor. A dedicated space signals that it’s special story time.
  • The right books: For little ones, look for board books with bright colors, sturdy pages, simple text, and engaging themes. Animals, familiar objects, and interactive books with touch-and-feel elements are often hits.
  • Be animated: Babies love expressive voices! Use different tones for characters, make silly sound effects, and don’t be afraid to get a little dramatic.
  • Follow their lead: Pay attention to which pages or pictures fascinate your baby. Linger on their favorites, and if they lose interest, try a different book or come back to it later.
  • Short and sweet: Remember, even five minutes of focused reading can have big benefits. Gradually increase the length of your sessions as your baby grows.
  • Repetition is key: Babies thrive on repetition! They learn by hearing the same words and seeing the same pictures again and again.

Beyond the Book: Make Reading Interactive

  • Point and name: As you read, point to pictures and say the word: “Can you find the yellow duck?” This helps them connect words to objects.
  • Simple questions: Encourage their participation with questions like “Where’s the puppy’s nose?” or “What does the cow say?”
  • Act it out: Add a layer of fun by incorporating simple actions related to the story. Roar like a lion, waddle like a penguin, or bounce like the bunnies in the book.

Creating a Reading Routine

Establish a reading rhythm by incorporating reading into your daily routine | via TigerKubz
  • Find your rhythm: Try to incorporate reading into your daily routine. Before naptime, during bath time, or as a wind-down activity before bed are all great options.
  • Manage distractions: Choose quiet times, and minimize distractions like TV or noisy toys to help your baby focus on the story.
  • Reading on the go: Stash a few board books in your diaper bag for reading at appointments or while waiting in line.

Building Your Baby’s Brain with Books

Explore the journey of early literacy with our developmental milestone table, guiding parents on how to enrich their baby’s language skills from birth to 12 months through the joy of reading.

“It isn’t just baby’s body that is growing this first year — baby’s brain is developing even more rapidly! Give your baby the best start by reading aloud every day, for at least 15 MINUTES, right from birth.”

Dr. John S. Hutton, Pediatrician & Assistant Professor, Clinician at Children’s Hospital Reading & Literacy Discovery Center
Age RangeDevelopmental MilestoneReading Tips
NewbornStart now! A nurturing family routine of reading aloud every day from birth to help your baby feel safe, loved, and ready for school and life.Read aloud slowly and exaggerate sounds.
1-2 Months OldSmile! Babies love faces and making emotional connections with people. They look, they listen, they feel…Babies love books with real pictures and bold contrasts.
2-5 Months OldOohs and ahhs! Your baby’s coos are more than cute – they’re vowels! By practicing with loved ones, your baby is figuring out which sounds are important to learn to talk.Chewing books is normal – a sign of teething! Let baby explore sturdy board books by holding them, turning pages, and even tasting!
5-9 Months OldA babbling brook… Through all that drool, you’ll hear “mama,” “dada,” “baba,” and more. Your baby is practicing consonants and new sounds to help them talk.Reading aloud together is so important to develop your baby’s vocabulary. Beyond favorite books, pick new ones that provide new words and experiences. All of these words add up quickly!
9-12 Months OldTalk to me! Like magic, all of a sudden your baby starts putting those coo (vowel) and babble (consonant) sounds together to make wonderful words!
Source: Read Aloud 15. For more insights on nurturing your child’s love for books, visit readaloud.org.

Book Recommendations for Different Ages

  • 0-6 months: High-contrast board books, books with faces, books featuring familiar objects.
  • 6-12 months: Interactive books with flaps, touch-and-feel elements, or simple rhymes.
  • 12 months +: Sturdy storybooks with short sentences and themes they understand (bedtime, animals, vehicles, etc.)

Common Baby Read-Aloud Questions

My baby doesn’t sit still for reading. What should I do?

If your little one is a bundle of energy and doesn’t sit still for a story, don’t worry—this is normal! Integrate reading into their active moments. Narrate a story while they’re on the move, exploring during tummy time, or even as they play with their toys. Keep reading sessions brief and let their curiosity guide you.

For those extra wiggly ‘movers and shakers’, consider incorporating reading into mealtime routines. This can be a great way to engage them with a book while they’re naturally seated and occupied with eating.

What if my baby chews on the books?

Board books are designed for this! Supervise closely, and gently redirect chewing to a teether or toy.

I’m not a confident reader. Does it still matter?

Absolutely! Your baby loves the sound of your voice. It’s about the shared experience and exposure to language, not perfect pronunciation.

When can I start introducing letters and sounds?

Around age one, you can casually point out letters and make their corresponding sounds while reading familiar books. Keep it playful and focus on fun!

Your Presence Matters: The Magic Ingredient

Remember, the most important part of reading with your baby is the shared experience. Your warmth, attention, and the joy you share create a lasting love of books and learning.

TigerKubz: Your Partner in Early Learning

TigerKubz learning kits are thoughtfully designed for busy parents. We curate engaging books and activities that support your baby’s development in a playful and age-appropriate way. Discover how we can help you make learning a joyful part of your baby’s day here.

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