December 12, 2008
A baby’s nerve pathways in the ears and neural system in the brain start developing as early as the twenty-sixth week, which is when the baby will begin responding to sounds and voices regularly. Introducing music and words while your baby is still growing inside of you may increase your baby’s intelligence; many expectant parents can start talking to their babies in the womb, reading to them and playing soothing music to generate a response from their developing brains. Reading provides auditory stimulation for babies’ growing brains and can acclimate children to the sounds of their parents’ voices.
Effects of Reading on Baby’s Intelligence
During the early stages of development, you can train a baby’s brain to recognize words and sounds well before she understands the meaning behind them. A baby developing in the womb can become sensitive to her parents’ sounds and touches; reading aloud provides a soothing sound for baby to tune into while resting and growing.
The tones, voices and sounds that the baby hears during development can provide the foundation for learning new sounds and words after she is born. After delivery, the baby may be more likely to respond positively to the people to whom she “listened” during development. Reading promotes language development, attention development, concentration skills and information synthesis. A baby’s cognitive skills can also be improved with a variety of stimuli; reading represents one way to enhance these important developmental skills.
Best Types of Books to Read During Pregnancy
Even though your baby can’t understand the real meaning behind the words he hears, he can pick up the rhythm and tone of the sentences and will respond to how the mother responds to whatever she reads. Reading thrillers or horror stories can raise stress levels in the pregnant mother, which can trigger an anxiety response in the baby. Selecting soothing, lighthearted and fun reading material is the best way to entertain your baby during pregnancy, and children’s books are a good resource for short stories that may benefit both the mother and the infant. Since babies typically have short attention spans, dividing reading sessions into small segments hold their attention long enough to derive the full benefit from this experience.