We’re making updates! The Hearing First website, communities, and learning experiences will be offline briefly on Feb. 2.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare your child to read and learn is to read aloud with them.

Read to them early and often. No baby is too young to hear you read aloud to them. Just 15 minutes a day can make a big difference.

When you read to your baby, they may hear a good story but really, they're learning language. This helps their brain grow and gets them ready for listening, talking, reading, and learning. It also develops their thinking skills, understanding, curiosity, creativity, and more.

Benefits of Reading Aloud

Reading aloud offers so many benefits for your child and their literacy development.

Create happy, early memories around reading
Build positive emotional associations with books
Introduce new vocabulary words through storytelling
Establish a lifelong habit of daily reading to be carried into adulthood
Prepare your child for literacy and school success

Remember, you can keep it simple. Babies just like to hear you talk. You don't need to read every single word to infants.

Talk Through It

Instead of reading the book, you can just hold it and talk about the pictures. Use simple phrases, then pause and wait for a few seconds before going to the next page. This gives your baby time to listen and look at the pictures.

A mom reads a book aloud to her son who is deaf and wearing hearing aids.

Make Reading a Routine 

Reading to your child should become as routine as feeding and bathing them. Even when you’re busy or your baby’s having one of those days, sharing a book can give them the comfort of this relaxing routine. Between appointments and busy schedules, it may seem overwhelming to read every day but it’s worth every minute.

Morning

Snuggle up and read when your baby’s just waking up or during their morning feeding.

Before or After Naps

Take a few quiet minutes to read a book to help them settle down or as a gentle way to wake up.

During Car Rides

If someone else is driving, take advantage of the time to read! Or if you’re driving, ask someone else (maybe big brother or sister) to share a story in the car.

Waiting for Appointments

Keep a few books in your baby bag so you can share a book together while waiting to see a doctor, audiologist, or interventionist.

Before or After Meals

Read aloud while your child enjoys a meal or snack. This is a great opportunity if your child normally has a hard time sitting still during storytime.

Before and/or After an Outing 

Read a book related to the place you’re going. Or make your own book based on your experience together!

In the Evening 

Snuggle up in bed to read after bathtime or to get settled before bedtime.

Make Reading a Family Affair

Grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins — everyone can get involved! Your baby will enjoy listening to all of the different voices.

Keep Going!

Want to learn more about how to grow your little reader? Here are some other helpful resources from organizations you may already know: