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Q&A:
When should I start reading to my baby?

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Question


My in-laws are on me about reading to my son. This started when he was 2 weeks old. He is now 6 1/2 weeks and I'm still getting asked this question at least once a week. What is a good time to start reading? I am singing, talking, playing, etc.

Answer


It is great that your son's grandparents are behind the reading effort. Everything we know supports the idea that early introduction of reading makes a big difference to kids. However, it sounds as if their eagerness has put too much stress on you and is developmentally misguided. Tell them that you are getting him to read through all your singing, talking, and bringing him with you on your daily tasks. These are the reading readiness tasks that are just right for his age. The best known early reading program that shows a positive impact is the Reach Out and Read program from Boston City Hospital. In that program, reading to kids starts at 6 months with looking at picture books. In the meantime, ask your in-laws to a) be reading volunteers at the local library, b) start collecting the books your husband read as a boy so they will be ready for your son when he is ready, c) start a library for their grandson, reviewing what are the best and most enduring books, and d) collect old children's books or buy new ones for a homeless shelter or the local WIC program (which helps families who don't have the means or the focus to work on this part of their children's lives). These tasks should keep them busy with no time to bug you as you enjoy your son.  
 
 
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