Reading to the Baby: The First Steps toward Literacy

The purpose of teaching reading is not simply so that your child will be able to read and write.

Learning to read is a process that will encourage your child's mental development, and improve their expression and comprehension abilities. If your child cannot walk steadily and cannot read, there is no need to worry.

Language learning, particularly reading, must be aligned with a child's development, so just let things take their natural course.

When to Start Reading?

Start before Age 2, when Your Child Starts Noticing Writing


Linguists have found that children, filled with innate curiosity, are capable of learning as soon as they are born. This is especially true of language.

The language-learning mechanism is already in place when children are born. Ages 0-2 is, in fact, the most active language-learning period, while progress begins to slow down between ages 5 and 6. 

However, the best time to start teaching your child about the written word is when they demonstrate a marked interest in it. Just when a child will become interested in written language is subject to variation. The earlier they become interested, the earlier they can start learning about it.

In other cases, if your child shows no interest in writing, it is not recommended that you force them to start so they can catch up to others. Simply put, the right time to learn about reading and writing always depends on the child's situation.

Creating a Good Environment to Learn the Written Word

The time when a child forms an interest in written words is not just determined by their inborn pace of development. It is also contingent upon whether or not there are chances to encounter writing, and whether or not the child's surroundings encourage them to become interested.

Therefore, the true distinguishing factor here is your child's environment. This is why it is important to create an environment at home that makes it easy for your child to become familiar with the written word. This is one of your duties as a mother.

Many mothers try to force their children to learn the alphabet. Whatever you do, never coerce your child into learning. Instead, create an environment that allows your child to learn about the written word gradually and naturally.

Fast Isn't Always Good

The goal of teaching your child about the written word isn't just for them to be able to read. It is just another way to develop their intelligence, improve their expressiveness and comprehension, and to cultivate a child who enjoys reading and who has a rich emotional life. All of these are reasons to achieve literacy. Therefore, you should avoid mechanically and repetitively stuffing your child's head with information and instead, cultivate a child's ability to interpret and think about things for him/herself.

Written words differ from the concrete objects and spaces that a child encounters in reality. Written language is an abstract signal, a system of symbols, so it is quite hard and out of the ordinary to expect a child to accept it immediately. Much like when you first started teaching your child how to talk, your child needs to process this visual, abstract set of symbols their own way and at their own pace.

That’s it when it comes to teaching your children about reading. Remember not to stuff your child with too much information so they won’t lose interest.


Editor in Babiology, mother of two, highly passionate about sharing the pregnancy care and post delivery care learning with the readers.

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