Answer:  The way you talk and respond to your infant makes a signifcant difference in their speech and language development.  Your infant loves to hear your voice and from a very early age will turn their head towards you when you speak.  Children learn and are stimulated by language, and reading is definitely an opportunity for learning and sharing.  It is a time to hold your infant close, sharing that important and significant physical bond.  It’s an opportunity to emotionally connect, even though babies don’t use real words, they communicate through movement, sounds, eye contact, and facial expression. 

You can respond to your infant’s cues and messages by acting on them. Encourage your infant’s language development through plenty of “conversations”, singing, and reading. It’s never too early to read to your child.

Infants react to voices – especially yours. Read to your infant in a calm, soothing manner. Choose books that are colourful and safe to chew (cloth, plastic or heavy cardboard). Let your infant hold and play with the book and be sure to point to pictures as you name or describe them.

Be patient. Listening, babbling, and making sounds are the first steps in language development. Your infant will begin to speak his/her first words around 12 months of age.

Studies have shown that language skills — and even intelligence — are related to how many words an infant hears each day. In one study, babies whose parents spoke to them a lot (an average of 2,100 words an hour) scored higher on standard tests when they reached age 3 than did children whose parents hadn’t been as verbal.

In a nut shell, is reading to a baby beneficial, ABSOLUTELY!

From our Expert: Heather Wilson, Kids Can Fly Board Member/ Montessori Children’s Academy, Paris