It’s never too early to start reading. There is a reason our instinct is to speak, read, sing, and engage with our little ones while they are still in the womb: they not only hear us, but this interaction enhances and boosts their development and connection to the world before they even enter it for the first time.
Babies begin absorbing information during the final stages of pregnancy. They also start distinguishing voices, so speaking to your baby can help them discover your voice and foster a deeper connection with you.
But how can you make reading fun and engaging when you can’t even see your audience? Well, there are plenty of ways. And who knows, every once in a while, a particularly good story may earn a little kick!
Here are 5 easy ways to enhance reading during pregnancy:
Repetition and Rhythm
Repeat, repeat! Reading books that contain repetition and rhythm is wonderful for early brain development. Your child’s blossoming mind can begin subconsciously picking up on patterns, which sets a wonderful foundation for early literacy skills.
Sing, Sing, Sing!
We all know what it’s like to get song lyrics stuck in our heads. Music is catchy! Our minds absorb and retain melody. As a result, singing to your child during pregnancy is a great way to stimulate their growing mind. Additionally, music is calming and can soothe both mom and child before birth.
Use Fun Voices
Since your child can identify and distinguish voices during the final stages of pregnancy, have fun with how you can change your voice to be different characters when reading stories!
Add Your Own Soundscape
Feel free to go beyond voices. If you’re reading a story where it’s windy, whoosh like the wind. If there’s a car or a siren, have at it! Vocally creating the soundscape of a story will make that story come alive for your little one.
Unborn babies not only respond to sound, but to touch. While reading to your little one, consider rubbing your belly and applying slight pressure in order to add another level of communication with your child during storytime.
Looking for books to read? Try some of Book Nook’s suggestions!
Traditional Books to Read While Pregnant:
Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go by Tish Rabe & Dr. Seuss
Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
Contemporary Books to Read While Pregnant:
I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
This Is Sadie by Sara O’Leary and Julie Morstad
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
Day Dreamers: A Journey of Imagination by Emily Winfield Martin
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Tom Lichtenheld
“Rhymes, Rhythm and Repetition.” Early Childhood Education and Care, 30 Oct. 2020, https://earlychildhood.qld.gov.au/early-years/activities-and-resources/resources-parents/read-and-count/rhymes-rhythm-and-repetition#:~:text=Rhyming%20helps%20babies%20and%20children,secure%20foundations%20for%20early%20learning.
“The Benefits of Books for Baby.” Book Nook Enrichment, 10 Dec. 2016, https://booknooknyc.com/the-benefits-of-books-for- baby/.