The Benefits of Reading to Babies

Among the main benefits of reading to babies are the stimulation of different senses and the reinforcement of a close bond.
The Benefits of Reading to Babies
Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales

Written and verified by the psychologist Maria Fátima Seppi Vinuales.

Last update: 05 October, 2022

Perhaps you imagine that reading should be reserved for when children grow up. However, nothing could be further from the truth. From an early age, it’s possible to approach little ones with this activity and take advantage of the benefits of reading to babies. The establishment of a bond and the development of curiosity and learning are just some of them. Let’s see what other benefits there are.

Learn about the benefits of reading to babies

Some of the main benefits of reading to babies are the following:

Promotes closeness and bonding

Whatever activity you do with your baby will serve to strengthen your bond, provide security, and show affection. In short, it’s positive for establishing an attachment bond. This is very important, especially at an early age, as this is the stage when children learn to look at themselves and others and understand the world.

Reading to babies contributes to stimulating the senses

Reading not only implies that babies listen to us, but also that they look at us. Even when they’re younger, there are books with different textures to develop touch as well.

It allows the development of the imagination

By introducing them to other worlds, characters, and stories, reading helps develop babies’ imagination and creativity. As they get older, it’s also a good way to teach them to find solutions to their problems by showing them different outcomes.

It’s a source of learning

Little by little, children begin to become familiar with sounds, letters, and vocabulary. It’s also a different way to learn about the world and other cultures and stories in a didactic and entertaining way.

A baby looking at a book.
Reading to children is a source of learning, as, little by little, they begin to recognize sounds, and letters and acquire vocabulary.

Reduces stress

Reading and being able to connect with other situations identifying or recognizing oneself in them, is one of the ways to understand what happens to us. In this case, the figure of another, as a character, works as a mirror. At the same time, listening to the voice of a loved one and immersing ourselves with them in a story, also works as a natural calming or relaxing agent. Thus, reading to babies allows them to learn to manage their emotions.

Helps to detect difficulties

Like any interaction, when we interact with another person we expect a certain response. Therefore, when we read to children, they usually concentrate, listen to us, try to imitate us and try to repeat sounds or follow us with their eyes. If you notice that there’s no interaction on repeated occasions, this serves as an indication that there may be some difficulty and you can intervene in time.

How to encourage reading in children

The theory is very nice. Now you know the benefits of reading to babies and infants. However, it’s important to be able to move on to practice and get little ones hooked on reading. Let’s see how to do it:

  • You need to read: In our daily routine, it’s important to set aside at least a few minutes for reading. It’s best that it not be a passing or compulsory activity, but one that it has its own space and time. For example, it’s highly recommended as a prelude to falling asleep.
  • Involve your kids and allow them to choose: Both when buying the book and when reading it, it’s essential for your little one to choose the subject and that they’re interested in it.
  • Understand that there are books for every age: We shouldn’t pressure our kids or force reading. The first books are mostly illustrated, with lots of colors and drawings and little text. As children develop, books also change. If we try to push them ahead and make them do something that’s not in accordance with their age and capacity, we’ll end up frustrating them and producing rejection of the activity.
  • Everything can involve reading: To make them feel more comfortable with reading, we can extend this activity to other areas. For example, ask them to read us a recipe for cooking or tell us what it says on the signs in the street.
A baby lying on the floor looking at a book.
It’s important to take into account that there are books for every age. For younger children, they’ll have little text and lots of colorful pictures. Also, some have different textures to stimulate the senses.

Reading is a habit and learning

Both reading and writing require a complex coordination of skills. Thus, cognitive, motor, symbolic, and phonological skills, among others, are involved. So, when we decide to introduce children to this world, we have to learn to respect their timing.

There will be children who enjoy reading or listening to a story, while others are more physical or bodily and need to burn off their energy. Therefore, we must be able to adapt this resource to the child we have in front of us. For example, in the case of children who need movement, it’s not a matter of rejecting reading, but perhaps combining it with stories that have activities or challenges in between.

Finally, reading is also a habit that begins at home. A child who has never had a book or who has never been read a story may be less interested in doing so. In this regard, it’s also about being facilitators of this proposal, even if we’re not the most assiduous readers.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Cadavid Ruiz, N., Quijano Martínez, M. C., Tenorio, M., & Rosas, R. (2014). El juego como vehículo para mejorar las habilidades de lectura en niños con dificultad lectora. Pensamiento psicológico12(1), 23-38.
  • Bohórquez Montoya, L. F., & Quijano Martínez, M. C. (2014). La comprensión verbal y la lectura en niños con y sin retraso lector. Pensamiento psicológico12(1), 169-182.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.