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Your Baby is Already Processing Language!

Something simply amazing about the human brain is that your baby is already processing language in utero! In fact, doctors say that your baby can hear your voice as early as 18 weeks of gestation! From the moment your baby takes his/her first breath, they are recognizing your voice, tone, and inflection. Amazing right?

Reading, talking, and singing to your baby from the day they’re born helps to build their understanding of the language they’ll soon develop. Reading aloud to babies helps them understand how written words work and helps them to build their own language and literacy skills. Modeling proper book behavior (holding the book, reading left to right, pointing to words as your read, looking at pictures) are instilling all the foundational skills children need before they even begin to decode words, which usually starts around the age of 3 or 4 when they are learning the alphabet. Even if your toddler cannot sit still during read aloud time, continue to read and model the behavior because although they may not be sitting with you, they are observing you. Although you may not see the impact your read alouds in the moment, you will most certainly see the benefits when they begin interacting with text on their own.

Here are some of my favorite recommendations to develop foundational reading skills, specifically ages 0-2 years:

  • Before words can be read by a child, encourage children to use the pictures in the books to make up your own story!

  • Keep books where children can reach them so that they can explore and “play” with the books. (Board books are more durable during this stage).

  • Stop and talk about what’s happening in the story with your child. Although they may not answer you, they are observing how you’re processing text.

  • Change the inflection in your voice, make up different voices for different characters, and even act out what’s happening in the story.

  • Visit the library with your child for a story hour. The more adults your child can see modeling book behavior, the better!

  • Find the time to read aloud every day. Just ten minutes a day can make a huge impact in child development.

Believe in the magic of reading.


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