by Lauren Froelich
Recently, more and more research has come out showing the benefits of reading to children; whether they’re in the womb, infants, or toddlers and older. In early 2013 a study was released showing that babies can absorb language from the womb during the last trimester of pregnancy. Last summer, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy statement recommending “that pediatric providers advise parents of young children that reading aloud and talking about pictures and words in age-appropriate books can strengthen language skills, literacy development and parent-child relationships.”
Both my husband and I have always been avid readers, and with more and more evidence showing the benefits of reading to children (even before they’re born!), we decided that reading to our children would be a normal occurrence in our home. When our first child was born last May we started reading aloud to him right away. In the beginning, when my son was a newborn, it was a pretty relaxed activity. He would snuggle up close, fall asleep, and would be content as long as his tummy was full. Now, with an eight month old, reading time looks a little different…trying to read aloud while keeping the book out of my son’s mouth and keep his wriggly, little body on my lap is no small task. Usually we end up on the floor together with me reading aloud while he army crawls all over looking for new things to discover.
We initially made reading to our children a priority because of the benefits for them, but now I’ve started to see that it’s not just for our children, but for us, too. It has been so fun to reread favorite childhood books (who doesn’t love The Giving Tree or Corduroy?), and discover new books as well (Susan Boynton, anyone?). Plus, the quality time together and the memories we’ll make over the coming years is something I’ll always treasure.
So here’s to taking advantage of these winter months, when we can’t spend as much time outside, to introduce our children to our favorite childhood books, and see what new favorites are still out there, waiting to be discovered.