When should I start reading to my child?
It’s NEVER too late to guide your child towards the amazing world of books.
Whenever I say how amazing books are and how many benefits reading to children has, even from early infancy, most often people object by saying
“Right, Cristina, it’s so easy for you to speak! You’re a writer after all. You must’ve read to your little girl ever since she was in womb, of course she now asks for books as they were candies!” Well, maybe not quite literally, haha.
But I do love to debate this topic: when should I start reading to my child? – it’s one of my favourite subjects to contemplate on. That’s because I, myself, had a late start. I didn’t fall in love with books at first sight, quite the opposite. And I most certainly don’t have these memories from early childhood on reading books.
But let’s start with the beginning, shall we?
We should read to our babies ever since they’re in the womb, no doubt about it. Starting with week 25 of pregnancy, babies’ only way of capturing information from the outside world is through sound. It’s incredibly soothing for them to hear their mother’s voice as she gently reads a story. Even more surprisingly, a study from 2013 says that, apparently, kids who have been read aloud to when they were in the womb, managed to recognised certain words (obviously, at the right age), after the pitch and the frequency of those words.
I won’t get into more detail now, but in a nutshell: the sooner you start reading to your child, the more she will feel the benefits of reading – building a stronger connection with you, enhancing the vocabulary, increasing the capacity of relating to her surroundings, falling asleep in a gentle way and so on.
The next time you’ll wonder “when should I start reading to my child,” you’ll know what experts say, but here is something I don’t it see being discussed very often. It’s wrong to assume that, if we haven’t properly introduced books from babyhood, then it’s too late now.
As I mentioned above, I didn’t have a strong bond with books and reading from an early age.
I grew up in the 90’s Romania post-communism era and it was hard. Unless you were coming from a wealthy family, with parents being either teachers, academics or well-taught people from the high-society, then most probably books were a rare sight in your house.
I don’t remember seeing books so often. Except for the ones I got from school, I used to see my mum reading her Sandra Brown novels and my brother having a little library with a beautiful and precious collection of Jules Verne.
Luckily, I had a sprightly childhood and that may be why I didn’t quite miss reading books. HOWEVER, knowing now how beneficial such a friendship is for a child’s development, I realised it would have helped me grow in so many unbelievable ways!
I was 14 when I became a bookworm.
The first book I ever read, from start to finish, was “The Procrustean Bed” (n.r. Patul lui Procust), written by Camil Petrescu, a Romanian well-known writer. I hated it! I had to swallow my tears as I went on reading page after page – all I wanted to do was to hang out with my friends. But I was forced to read that book by my Economics teacher, he was extremely strict and reading fine literature was the only way his students got a passing grade.
And so, I was left with no other choice than to read.
The next book was “Anna Karenina” by Lev Tolstoy, a totally different approach, style and era. And since then, I’ve never stopped.
Sixteen years later, reading is one of my favourite things to do! It’s how I take care of my brain, body, emotions and spirit.
So, did I miss the start? Most certainly YES.
But I surely didn’t miss the JOURNEY.
Because THIS is a Journey, a fabulous adventure, full of bumpy rides and great lessons – not a marathon. Sure, the start matters a great deal (because it has so many benefits), but even most importantly is to join the journey along the way. Hop on that train as it slowly passes by.
Has it ever happened to you to drive by a cyclist or a runner and suddenly want to be on a bike or in your running shoes instead of being glued to the wheel? You might have even said to yourself “as soon as I get home, I’ll hop in my trainers and go for a short run” or “I’ll take the bike next time.” This happened because, seeing others walking down THAT path, inspires us to join in.
The same is true with loving books.
It’s something we can learn.
It’s never too late to read to your child! And you can start as of today, actually, you can start right now if you haven’t already!
In the following days, I’ll be writing about ways to introduce books according to your child’s age and I can’t wait to see you joining us on this journey!
If we’re already walking shoulder by shoulder, I’d like to see you on Facebook too!
P.S.: don’t forget that in our Shop section you can find a couple of amazing personalised books for kids and families – from “put me in the story” type of books, to the ones that are entirely unique, choose the one you like best.
Personalised books are a fabulous way to begin the adventure of reading and loving books.
Until next time,