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What's the Proper Age to Start Reading to Your Kids?
A new mother is curious if her baby is too young to enjoy a her first stories.


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There's no need to wait to read to your child.


The goal isnít to educate, itís to get her used to the sound of the language and to give make a connection to a peaceful activity.”
Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and I have a 1-month old. Whenís the right time to start reading to her? And is there a "right" way to do it?

If there is one gift that every parent should give his or her child, itís a love of reading and stories. At this age, you can read just about anything to your baby, from War and Peace to the installation guide to your dishwasher. The goal isnít to educate, itís to get her used to the sound of the language and to make a connection to a peaceful activity.

Children who get read regularly to by their parents have bigger vocabularies, are able to sit still for longer periods of time, and have fewer problems learning to read than kids who donít have the same exposure to books. Still not convinced that reading to your child is a good thing? Try this: 60 percent of prison inmates are illiterate, 85 percent of juvenile offenders have reading problems, and 44 percent of adult Americans do not read a single book in the course of a year.

Clearly, reading is an important habit to develop, and it's never too early to start.† Itíll be a while, though,†'till you get much reaction from the baby. At about three months, she may start holding your finger while you read to her.† At four months, sheíll sit still and listen attentively while you read and may even reach out to scratch the pages of the book. At around five months, sheíll probably start to respond to your pointing.† At six months, sheíll respond to what you're reading by bouncing up and down or chuckling before you get to a familiar part of the story. Look for books with simple, uncluttered drawings, as well as poetry and nursery rhymes.

At around seven months, your baby's grabbing and tearing are now slightly more purposeful, and you may notice an occasional attempt to turn pages. By 10 months, she may follow characters from one page to the next. At a year, she'll not only be able to turn one page of her book at a time, but she'll be able to answer questions like, "What does the duckie say?"

As far as whether thereís a "right" way, the answer is no. Just try to make it a regular part of your babyís life. If you can set up a special time and place for reading, so much the better. The best reading position for your baby is to sit her on your lap with her back to your chest. Hold the book with your arms around her and read from over her shoulder.

A nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott is also the author of "The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-to-Be," "The New Father: A Dadís Guide to the First Year" and "The Single Father: A Dadís Guide to Parenting without a Partner." He has written on parenting and fatherhood for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek and dozens of other periodicals. He also hosts ďPositive ParentingĒ, a nationally distributed, weekly talk show, and lives with his family in Oakland, California. To read more from Armin, please visit www.parentingbookmark.com or visit Armin at www.mrdad.com.


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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.



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