National Literacy Trust – Bookstart
Babies love to communicate. They are born sociable and come into the world with a willingness to communicate and learn. Their experiences in their early years shape their future social, communication and learning skills. Books can be a great way of helping babies and their carers during this period of discovery.
Seventy-five per cent of brain development occurs in the first two years of life and babies need stimulation and attention to make the most of this opportunity. This is not as daunting as it may first sound, as stimulation comes from simple, everyday activities such as talking, listening, singing and sharing books together.
A language-rich home helps a child to develop in many ways. Talking to babies helps them learn to listen, and gives them the chance to respond and be listened to. Over time, their coos, babbles and smiles will move on to first words and sentences. Interaction helps this natural process along.
Storytelling and book-reading are an easy way to have regular, additional talking time. Storytelling introduces structure and language patterns that help form the building blocks for reading and writing skills. Reading aloud combines the benefits of talking, listening and storytelling within a single activity and gets parents and carers talking regularly to young children.
Reading to children on a daily basis gives them the best start to life. It is never too early to start communicating.