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Reading to Your Baby from Birth -- Montessori Baby Week 30

Reading had clearly been on my brain this week! And, that includes reading with Augustus. I haven't written about this yet, but we start reading to our babies at birth! Even from his earliest days, we have been sitting together and reading books. 

Even small babies love to listen to the sound of another's voice well before they have the ability to sit and comprehend an entire book. Baby's learn to speak from hearing and watching you talk. As, Lynne Lawrence explains in the book Montessori Read and Write, "Through focus on her language environment your child acquires the ability to reproduce the sounds of her mother tongue with all its nuances, dialects and intonations."  

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Reading to your baby from birth is a great way to connect to your baby and help them learn. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when reading to your baby!

Favorite Baby Books include Creature Colors | Mama and Baby | Black & White | Pinhole Press Family Book | Smile | I Hear

Reading to your baby doesn't have to be complicated or daunting. But, it can feel a little awkward reading at first. I know when Henry was a baby, I always felt weird reading to him before he could interact or understand the words I was saying. Here are some things to keep in mind that I have found to help me! 

Tips for Reading to Your Baby from Birth

Follow the Child. Follow the baby's lead for how long to read, don't feel like you have to read an entire book each time.

Make it Simple. You don't have to read all the words, simply paging through books and talking can work.

Avoid a Power Struggle. Make it about connecting, not a power struggle -- especially for older babies or younger toddlers that are starting to just want to move and may wiggle away.

Reading to your baby from birth is a great way to connect to your baby and help them learn. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when reading to your baby!

Keep on Reading. Reading aloud is great even when your baby is busy moving in and out. Let them listen even if they aren't able to physically sit still through an entire story. 

Pick the Right Book. Pick content rich books at a variety of levels and make them accessible to your child. Let your baby pick books as soon as they are able and respect their choice {even if its the same book 100 times in a row.} 
"The more linguistically rich her environment the greater is the opportunity for development." Lynne Lawrence 
The more you read, the easier and more enjoyable it will become. So, get reading! Do you read to your baby? 

Reading to your baby from birth is a great way to connect to your baby and help them learn. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when reading to your baby!


Reading to my baby is one of my favorite things. Just in the past couple of weeks (he's 9 months), he's started frequently choosing books on his own and getting so happy when I read to him, and also turning the pages. Smile is one of his favorites right now too, along with Global Babies and Hello Bugs.
The Lion said…

Honest question-- wouldn't the benefit of "reading" to an infant (opportunity for them to hear language and voice) be just as easily accomplished by speaking to them about any number of things?

I love reading, and my parents read to me a lot when I was younger. However, I don't recall being read to as an infant and if the benefit of reading to infants is language and voice, it seems like that can be accomplished without putting the infant in a situation where they are "expected" to be paying attention to the reading. With our 6mo old, it is hard for me to imagine him actually getting something out of reading per se, versus just the normal speaking and communication we do on a daily basis as we try to include him in our lives.

A funny story somewhat related to my curiosity-- a friend of ours with a 2mo old has started reading to him and is now convinced he has ADD because "he won't pay attention" when she reads to him. This seems absurd! Aside from how sad it is to see someone trying to diagnose their child with a disorder at 2mos of age, to argue the diagnosis is based upon the observation that the child doesn't "pay attention" while being read to seems to really stretch the imagination!

Explicit reading together and story time is something we plan to put more energy into a bit later in our child's life than 6mos. For now, we do a lot of RIE-inspired "sportscasting", narrating what's going on around him, explaining what we're going to do with him before we do it, telling him about how we feel and what we're thinking about, etc. The idea of reading together at this point seems like we're setting ourselves up for frustration when he "doesn't pay attention."

But I would like to hear your feedback because we love reading and it's tempting to do more of it with him!
You absolutely should do more of it! Yes, it similar to talking but we don't typically talk the way that books are written. Rhyming, lyrical speech.

Additionally, reading together early makes it part of your routine so that it's naturally part of your day as your child ages.

It also promotes connection and a positive association with reading from a very young age. Those early memories aren't just the book, then it's the cuddling/physical closeness. I just cannot possibly see any downside to starting a positive association early or reading (in addition to sportscasting and narration of daily activities).

Lynne Lawrence's book that I linked above is a great reference. A Montessori school called Baan Dek also has a great Facebook video on reading and the importance of starting very young.
The Lion said…
Thanks for the thoughts!
Unknown said…
Perfect timing! Just yesterday I was thinking that I haven't started reading to my LO like I had wanted too. He's only 12 days old and between the feeding, sleeping, and occasionally fussing, I'm not sure where to fit it in! Also in what position would you recommend reading with a newborn. He obviously can't really sit up on my lap! Looking forward to diving into the resources you mentioned!
Anonymous said…
What books are in your picture?

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