Reading to Your Baby Can Raise Your Baby's IQ
If someone told you to study a hundred families with newborns and asked you to identify which babies would score highest on an IQ test at age three, what would you look for?... Birth weight? Income level? Parents' IQ? Parents' Education?
When a group of researchers went through this exercise, they found that it was the amount of baby-directed talk that mattered most. Talk, reading chatter, exclamations, observations narration and conversation all contributed to higher IQ scores.
There is evidence that talking to your baby helps organize her brain. As your baby is learning to understand and produce words and sentences, the brain is becoming more specialized for processing language. Prior to the growth spurts in vocabulary that occur around 18-months, the brain shows increased activity in the areas responsible for language processing. This suggest that the child who is spoken to in language rich with descriptions and explanations will often go on to speak well, read well and write well, which means she will be a good communicator, a better processor of information, a higher achiever in school and a good problem-solver.
Reading aloud is a particularly powerful form of talking to your baby. Reading provides a much more structured and organized form of communication than casual speech, helping your baby note where logical pauses in language occur and leading her to an understanding of the grammatical structure of language. This is particularly true for rhyming books. Rhymes, by definition have a natural cadence that further highlight the breaks in language and make it even easier for your baby to understand what she is hearing. That is why rhyming books, especially those with bright, buy simple, illustrations are the best books for infants.
Although some of the benefits of reading to your baby may not start until after the age of three months, we recommend that you begin reading to your child as early as possible: it helps set a great precedent, give you some nice bonding time together and gets you in the habit of reading out loud to her. Many of us have fond memories of that favorite bedtime story read to us by mom and dad; and that alone is a terrific reason to continue the tradition.