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Reading to Infants Helps With Language Development

Study after study shows that reading to young children is beneficial in several ways, and now another study can be added to the list. Positive effects of reading at least 1 book a day to a baby starting at 2 weeks of age can be seen in the baby's language by 9 months of age.

Reading aloud to your child increases the child's vocabulary and speech, but it is also a great way to bond with your child.

The researchers point out that many studies find that: "Ultimately, the age at which parents begin reading to their children correlates with language development and academic achievement."

Each parent in the study was given 20 popular young children's books to read to their baby. A few were definitely above an infant's comprehension level (e.g., Owl Babies by Waddell), while others could be considered by many as first books (e.g., the board book Everywhere Babies).

Science Daily: Daily, consistent parental reading in the first year of life improves infants' language scores

Daily reading improved language development in infants 12 months and younger, according to a recent study by researchers at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The study, which builds on well-established research of early language development in toddlers 12 months and older, found that the infants who received consistent, daily reading of at least one book a day, starting at two weeks of age, demonstrated improved language scores as early as nine months of age. The findings were published in December in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

During the randomized study, parents/guardians were given a set of 20 children's books specifically chosen to support early language development and interaction with print media. Enrolled families agreed to read at least one book per day and have their infants tested with an expressive and receptive language test at their well-child visits.

"One book each day is an easy goal for new families to try. To see that there is a measurable improvement in speaking and understanding before one year old is very exciting," said Adam M. Franks, M.D., professor of family and community health at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and corresponding author on the study.

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