“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” This is what Albert Einstein, one of the most intelligent people to have lived on this earth advised parents. Words that have been endorsed by the American Academy of Paediatrics as it recently called for paediatricians to talk with all parents about reading to their children starting in infancy. They have been asked to promote "early literacy – beginning from an infant's very first days – as an 'essential' component of primary care visits", says the National Public Radio in one of its reports. So babies (or their care givers) there might get handed books along with their immunization shots.
Research has found that early exposure to language via reading and storytelling has a great influence on a child’s development and learning throughout life. Experts also caution against using electronic devices for this as studies find that babies need to connect emotionally with the words being spoken or they simply filter them out. So while tapes and electronic devices can promise to make your children Einstein-like, what might really do the trick is just taking Einstein’s’ own advice and reading to your baby. For young children, the words have to come from a real live human and what can be better than some cooing and cuddle time with your baby that equips them with lifetime skills?
So what does reading to a baby who may not understand what you are saying do?
Author of a new book for babies Pridhee Kapoor, who is also the mother of a toddler says that she had been reading to her baby daughter and the turning point for her was when her daughter started talking. “After every story I read to her, a couple of days later I was hit with a mind-blowing nonsensical story with words and ideas picked from the stories that I had read. That is the magic of reading. It opens the door to a whole new world of creativity where the sun doesn’t have to be orange or the grass is not green. Reading opens your mind, builds curiosity and removes all boundaries to imagination that we as humans try to build."
A vintage poster from 1920 encouraging reading.
The guide lines for reading to a baby are very simple.
So go on, grab a book and start reading to your baby. It will be one of the best investments you can make in their future. Bond with them over a book today.