Reading with babies

Reading to your baby supports brain development, early literacy skills and provides quality time with your child.

A child begins hearing and processing different sounds while still in the womb, and is born ready to learn language. Your baby is communicating from day one and will develop their communication skills through their interactions with you.

It’s never too early to start talking to, and reading to, your child.

Reading aloud to your child helps them become familiar with sounds, words and sentences. These early literacy skills will provide the early foundations for language skills as they grow and support early brain development.

Reading each day also provides bonding and quality time for you and your child. Using reading as part of a routine can also help your baby settle, for example as ‘quiet time’ to relax your baby before sleeps.

Reading to babies
  • Reading slowly helps your baby focus.
  • Using different inflections and voices is stimulating for your child.
  • Point out words or images on the page to help make connections between words and meaning.
What to read

Your baby will enjoy the sound of your voice, the physical closeness and the images or movement of the pages as you turn them. Babies generally enjoy hearing stories with rhythm, rhyme and repetition and looking at books with lots of colour and interesting shapes.

Image Baby holds the corner of a book, looking intently at the pages as a grandparent reads to them

Published — 02 October 2016 Last updated — 02 November 2016