The power of reading
One way to connect intimately with your baby’s growing mind is to read to her—no matter how young she is. The idea is not just to familiarize her with language.
“Reading together is a great way to strengthen those attachment relationships,” says Bales. “By holding a baby close, using an animated voice tone and sharing touch, smiles and laughter, parents are communicating love and caring, which helps build trust.”
But of course, language is at the heart of the shared reading experience. “It’s the one-on-one attention that really makes the experience so magical,” says Jill Stamm, author of Bright from the Start: The Simple, Science-Backed Way to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind from Birth to Age 3 (Gotham Books, 2007). “But you’re also pointing to an object in the book and explaining the picture or story, bathing that child in complex language and her brain is absorbing all of it.”
The brain is a pattern-seeking organ, Stamm explains. “In all aspects of a baby’s brain development, there is the search for patterns.” That’s why simple books that rely on word repetition can capture a baby’s attention. “Repetition strengthens the language connections in the brain,” agrees Bales. “Reading is an opportunity to hear the same words and phrases repeated over and over.”
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