Reading to babies – guest post by Danielle Lowe

My name is Danielle Lowe and I have taught ESL Kindergarten in New York for the past 15 years. I have been blessed to have worked in classrooms in England, Ireland, Belize, as well as throughout the United States. Over the past decade, I have presented at international conferences in Las Vegas, Oxford University, and for the Ambassador of Belize! 

There are many experts in the educational and medical fields that acknowledge the importance of early literacy pertaining to cognitive, social, and emotional development. The human brain is most permeable during the first few years of life. Sensory stimulation through interactive read aloud routines, increase synaptic growth and create stronger networking connections in the brain. 

  
Establishing a literacy rich environment during infancy and childhood lays the academic foundation for future learning. It provides opportunities to discriminate oral language, model sophisticated and grammatical practices, build and expand vocabulary and comprehension skills, and create a secure prior knowledge collection for future learning to occur. Strong and nurturing relationships are fostered through the close and direct contact during interactive read-alouds. 

  
There are direct links correlating initial attachments with self-confidence, the ability to acquire new information, and the ability to empathize with others. When parents and caregivers place value on literacy, children tend to follow their actions and mimic their behaviors. Research supports interactive read-alouds during infancy and childhood establish a love of language and build stronger relationships. Play and exploration are important factors in the learning process. Rhymes and song are playful ways of infusing language. Children learn best when they are actively engaged. Reading books provides opportunities to discover and nurture areas of interest. Learning alters the brain through synaptic connections, so the brain literally grows with experiences.

  
​Reading readiness encapsulates print knowledge, book knowledge, vocabulary, memory, phonological awareness, and comprehension. Children learn best through repeated exposures to materials and experiences, and acquire language and literacy. Through immersion, young children can physically alter their brains to lay the foundation for a life of learning.

  I am currently conducting a doctoral dissertation study to show the importance of reading with infants between the ages of 12-28 months old. It is a 28 day study and participants from all economic and ethnic backgrounds are included from throughout the world. Participants that have taken part to date reside throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, and South Africa. At this time, I have over one-hundred participants that have taken part. The study is designed to work around the schedule of the parent and to take part in the convenience of one’s own home or daycare provider. After a five-minute “training” video regarding the procedures for reading to infants, mothers/caregivers will read and video record a read aloud session on the first, fourteenth, and the twenty-eighth day. Infants in the control group will ONLY be read to on day one, day fourteen, and day twenty-eight. The intervention infants will have daily interactive read-aloud sessions with the caregiver. Both groups will be asked to video record the reading sessions on the first, middle, and last day using a Smartphone, digital camera, or iPad. The three videos will be analyzed to determine if there is a difference in attention span. When reviewing the recording, I will track each infant’s eye movement, engagement, interactive movements, vocal participation, etc.   

I am currently in need of infants that do not have an established reading routine or for babies that DO NOT LIKE BOOKS. If they get up and run away, that is even better! The time commitment for the control group is approximately 6 minutes for the whole entire month. If you would like more information please feel free to see the parent testimonials on the dissertation tab of www.babystepstoliteracy.com or contact me directly at babystepstoliteracy@yahoo.com

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6 Comments

  1. June 15, 2015 / 7:30 am

    great post, very informative, I’ve always believed that reading is important from birth!! thanks for sharing with #readwithme x

  2. June 15, 2015 / 8:20 am

    An interesting post. I’ve always believed that ‘Babies need books’ and read to my daughter as soon as she was born 🙂

    #readwithme

  3. June 30, 2015 / 7:58 pm

    Thank you everyone for your feedback!! If you know anyone with a toddler that might be interested in participating, please direct them to the website!

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