Spotlight: Babies and Books

Spotlight: Babies and Books

Did you know that your soon-to-be-born baby is listening to you?

Here’s what we know from various studies (see links at the end of each quote to learn more): 

“Studies of newborn behavior show that babies get used to the music and voices they've heard in the womb. When your baby is born, if he hears sounds he's heard before birth, he may respond by appearing more alert and active. Your newborn may also pay more attention to your voice than any other.” Read more.

“From week 25 forward, a baby’s primary connection and information to the outside world comes in the form of sound. By this point, the soothing, rhythmic sounds of a simple story should be quite audible, although the tones and cadences of the voice are more important than enunciation of the actual words.” Read More.

“Repeated exposure to certain types of sounds leads to the development of neural memory traces for these sounds… These early experiences may… affect [your baby’s] later abilities of speech perception and language acquisition.” Read more.

“…your baby may also show that she recalls and is comforted by other noises heard while in the womb [such as] a story frequently read out loud to her. She may also prefer your voice to others, and pay extra attention when you speak.” Read more.

There is still not clear evidence that your baby will be smarter if you play music to him or read to him before he’s born. But we do know that babies in utero hear and make associations to the sounds, voices, rhythms, repetitions, and cadences to which they are exposed. And we do know that the particular cadences and repetitions that babies and toddlers hear when they are read to help them to acquire language and set the stage for learning to read.

So try to make time every day to relax and read aloud to that precious bump – you’ll be getting a head start on one of the most rewarding routines in your child’s life.