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Read to Your Baby – The Importance of Books, Audiobooks, and the Spoken Word

Guest Post by Shellie Braeuner of Kids Audiobook Reviews

Read and speak aloud – Your baby is listening.

Newborn babies have been listening to the sound of human voices from the time they are in the womb and prefer that sound to any other. (In fact, newborn babies automatically recognize the sound of their mother’s voice minutes after birth, and they can distinguish it from other voices around them.)

There is an important developmental reason for why babies enjoy the sound of human voices – they need to listen to hundreds of thousands of words before they are able to utter even one.

Talking to your baby is vital.  Eye contact while holding and talking to a newborn helps them bond and learn the importance of language between people.

Read Aloud to Baby and Help Foster Language Skills

Babies are never too young to enjoy picture books. They are designed with bright colors and simple language to engage young minds. It has been shown that children who are read to early have better vocabularies and do better in school. However, you are not locked into reading baby books.

Love to read the newspaper? Why not read the paper aloud to your baby? The wide variety of vocabulary adds to the words your child hears. It doesn’t even matter what you are talking about. Babies have no context for the words they hear. Instead, babies notice the context of what Mom says by her emotion.

Love to read novels? Why not share your favorite book with your baby? The rhythm of the words and your enjoyment of the story expose your baby to fine literature. Stay away from horror, suspense, or high intrigue around infants. They may not understand the words, but most young babies learn how to read their mother very quickly. Your stress, even when produced by an exciting story, will transmit to your baby.

Too Busy? Consider Audiobooks for Babies

Too busy to read? This is where audiobooks can help.  While you are busy doing housework, or running errands, while your baby is playing, or even napping, audiobooks can expose your baby to the wonderful world of language.  The beautiful thing about using audiobooks with a baby is that the baby doesn’t understand the words. So you’re not locked into picture books, or rhymes.  You can listen to books that you enjoy and expose your baby to fine literature at the same time.

There are thousands of books available that you can share with your child. Choose books that you enjoy and your behavior will teach your child that sounds are pleasurable.

Look for audiobooks that have a lyrical, flowing quality by authors such as Shakespeare, Bronte, Austin, even Tolkien and Lewis.  If these are not authors that you enjoy, play these audiobooks while your child plays, or even naps.  If you play audiobooks while the child naps during the day, you block outside noise that might otherwise wake your baby.


Great Poets of the Romantic Age: William Blake, William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, John Keats and others. Read by Michael Sheen

The Woman Warrior: by Maxine Hong Kingston, Read by Ming Na

A Tale of Two Cities & Great Expectations: by Charles Dickens, Read by Frank Muller

Pride and Prejudice: by Jane Austin, Read by Lindsay Duncan

Firefly Lane: by Kristin Hannah, Read by Susan Eriksen

The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette: by Carrolly Erikson, Read byMaggie-Meg Reed

Sweet Mandarin: by Helen Tse, Read by Liz Sutherland

Keeping Faith: by Jodi Piccoult, Read by Julia Gibson


About the author: Shellie Braeuner is an award-winning children’s book author and parenting expert. Her most recent publication, The Great Dog Wash (a rhyming picture book about dogs), won the first Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories New Author contest and was published by Simon and Schuster in 2009. Learn more about Shellie on her website.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Valynn September 7, 2011, 3:35 am

    Amazing what and how children learn from their parents.

  • Kristin February 25, 2011, 4:32 am

    I implemented these tips with both of my boys (5 and 2). I always get comments regarding how great their vocabulary is and what bookworms they are! They are a lover of books!

    Hey DP, come sign up for my blog as well: http://www.agiftofmiles.com/blog/category/blog


    • Cheyenne December 14, 2016, 10:37 am

      What a joy to find sooneme else who thinks this way.

    • tempe dmv January 9, 2017, 9:19 am

      P,Scroll down to the RCP afternoon update where you will find a story by J. Tobin of Contentions, titled ‘Christie Makes His First Mistake’. Try reading before you respond next time.

    • kredit bei einkommen unter 1000€ January 28, 2017, 1:40 pm

      Thank you dear friends! This is very nice of you and your website looks great as well. Nice job. Thanks again!! Anne and your AZ Interfaith Movement friends.

    • privatkreditvertrag vorlage kostenlos February 11, 2017, 9:49 am

      A very touching story. One I know well. It is so heart wrenching and sad to have to make that ultimate decision of complete love. I believe in hugs and reaching out to people even if they are strangers. Angels do not come just in the form of celestrial beings…they walk among us. A wonderful gesture Dee.

  • Fec527 February 25, 2011, 12:34 am

    I completely agree! I should do it more often though.

    Following back. Great blog!

  • Faramedina February 24, 2011, 8:51 pm

    These are great suggestions, thanks for sharing
    Following from bloggy moms

  • Shara February 24, 2011, 10:36 am

    Stopping by to show some bloggy love from Bloggy Moms! Cute blog, I love the pink 🙂


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