There's no doubt that reading is good for you. It can improve your cognitive skills, help you relax, and even reduce stress levels. But did you know that reading can also be beneficial for your baby - both in the womb and as a newborn? That's right - at every stage of motherhood, you can help your baby’s cognitive development and bonding with some classic storytelling.
Studies have shown that babies who are read to in the womb are more likely to recognize words and tones of voice after they're born. In fact, one study found that babies were even able to distinguish between their mother's voice and another's! So not only does reading help to stimulate your baby's brain development, but it can also help them bond with you before and after they're born.
Reading Before Birth:
So what are the best books to read to your baby in the womb? Look for books with simple, repetitive text. Rhyming books are also great since the rhythm can be soothing for both you and your baby. And don't worry if you feel like you're reading the same book over and over again - babies love hearing the same stories again and again. In utero, babies aren’t really recognising individual words, but they are hearing tone, rhythm, and pattern. While studies are yet to prove if the kind of material you read aloud to your baby bump matters, it can’t hurt to keep it light and relaxing, so maybe save reading your mystery novel for quiet alone time!
As we know through extensive research, reading aloud to infants and young children has lasting benefits, including improving literacy skills later in life. When choosing books to read to your baby, look for ones with bright colours, interesting illustrations, and simple stories. Here are a few of our favourite baby books!
Animalphabet, by Julia Donaldson and Sharon King-Chai.
Each cleverly cut page draws you further into a beautifully vibrant world of huge elephants, slithery snakes, and growling tigers. Sharon King-Chai's bold colours and shapes make Animalphabet a rich delight for children of all ages while Donaldson's rhythmic text is a pleasure to read aloud.
Animals - Touch and Feel Book
Babies and toddlers will love this interactive touch-and-feel tab book from the best-selling Baby Touch series. Use the animal-shaped tabs to help turn the pages and find and name the different animals throughout. There are also big, stimulating touch-and-feel areas to stroke and talk about on every page - which animal feels soft? Which one feels bumpy?
Read to Your Toddler Every Day, by Lucy Brownridge and Chloe Giordano.
Young children develop best when they are read to. In this follow-up to Read to Your Baby Every Day, soothe your toddler with retellings of traditional folk tales, fairy tales, and fables from around the world paired with images of Chloe Giordano's charming hand-embroidered illustrations on cloth. Every tale is the perfect length to read aloud to your toddler before bedtime and carries a message of empathy, friendship, and care for the world around us.