Read to your Newborn

Want to give the baby in your life the best start? One of the best things you can do as a parent is to read to your child from birth.

Most children’s books contain lots of brightly coloured pictures thought. This is great for older children but for the best brain development, research shows that babies up to 6 months of age need high contrast black and white images.

KM Wade 3The personalised Where’s My Teddy?, K. M. Wade’s first book for newborns, is specifically designed to stimulate babies’ vision and hearing. The bold black and white pictures will capture the attention of even the youngest children while the rhythm and repetition of the story build their literacy skills. Each book is customised to your child so older children will also be thrilled when they discover that the person who has lost their teddy shares the same name as them.

This is truly a book your child will enjoy from birth.

The Benefts of Reading to Newborns

10A8460Reading to babies, including newborns, helps build early literacy skills and positive family relationships. In fact, research has shown that reading to newborns can increase a child’s vocabulary and help them develop more advanced mathematical skills earlier than children who were not read to.

Top reasons for reading to newborns:

  • improves listening skills
  • improves memory
  • exposes babies to more vocabulary words and thus increases vocabulary (Hart and Risley, 1995)
  • exposes babies to less-common words
  • helps babies understand the meanings of a wide variety of words
  • increases IQ (Hart and Risley, 1995)
  • promotes bonding between babies and their parents and caregivers (Butler, 2003)
  • calms babies and their caregivers
  • stimulates imagination
  • promotes a love of books and learning (Butler, 2003)
  • demonstrates correct speech patterns
  • teaches babies about the world around them
  • lays the foundations for teaching children about numbers and other key concepts

Black and White Pictures for Newborns

KM Wade 12Research has consistently shown that babies up to 6 months of age prefer to look at black and white geometric shapes as opposed to the bright colours or pastels that are traditionally used in books and toys (Frantz, Ordy and Udelf, 1962; Bower and Lunde, 1977; Salapatek and Kessen, 1966; Chaze and Ludington-Hoe, 1984).

Researchers have also demonstrated that showing black and white images to newborns increases curiosity and stimulates brain cell connections as well as increase concentration and attention. This leads to an increased sense of self, more confidence and increased creativity (Why Babies Love Black and White, 2012). The more babies are shown black and white pictures, the better their brain will grow and the faster their vision will develop. Allowing your baby to fixate on black and white images will help your baby’s ability to learn (Ludington-Hoe et al., 1985).

Showing babies black and white images as soon as possible after birth provides the best start in life (when it comes to the development of vision) as early visual stimulation has been shown to play an important role in the development of a baby’s vision with the effects being apparent two or more years later (Lewis and Maurer, 2009).

References

  • Bower, T.G.R. and Lunde, D.T. (1977) A primer of infant development. San Francisco: W.H.Freeman & Co.
  • Butler, S. (2003) Helping young listeners become successful readers: Babies and toddlers.
  • Chaze, B.A. and Ludington-Hoe, S.M. (1984) “Sensory Stimulation in the NICU,” AJN, American Journal of Nursing, 84(1), pp. 68–71.
  • Frantz, R.L., Ordy, J.M. and Udelf, M.S. (1962) “Maturation of pattern vision in infants during the first six months,” Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55(6), pp. 907–917
  • Hart, B. and Risley, T.R. (1995) Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children. 8th edn. Baltimore: Brookes, Paul H. Publishing Company.
  • Hayes, D.P. and Ahrens, M.G. (1988) “Vocabulary simplification for children: A special case of ‘motherese’?,” Journal of Child Language, 15(02), p. 395.
  • Heckman, J.J. (2006) “Skill formation and the economics of investing in disadvantaged children,” Science, 312(5782), pp. 1900–1902.
  • Lewis, T.L. and Maurer, D. (2009) “Effects of early pattern deprivation on visual development,” Optometry and Vision Science, 86(6), pp. 640–646.
  • Literacy promotion: An essential component of primary care pediatric practice (2014) Pediatrics, 134(2), pp. 404–409.
  • Ludington-Hoe, S., Golant, S.K., Hoe-Ludington, S. and Ludinton-Hoe, S. (1985) How to have a smarter baby. New York: Rawson Associates.
  • National survey of children’s health – data resource center for child and adolescent health (2017) Available at: http://childhealthdata.org/learn/NSCH (Accessed: 8 March 2017).
  • Russ, S., Perez, V., Garro, N., Klass, P., Kuo, A., Gershun, M., Halfon, N. and Zucherman, B. (2007) Reading across the nation: A chartbook.
  • Salapatek, P. and Kessen, W. (1966) “Visual scanning of triangles by the human newborn,” Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 3(2), pp. 155–167.
  • Why babies Love Black and white (2012) Available at: http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/932/black_and_white_-_information_for_0-3.pdf (Accessed: 9 March 2017).