Two years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics made a bold statement: Start reading to your baby from birth. The benefits are twofold: Reading stimulates optimal brain development, paving the way to better speaking skills, and strengthens the relationship between you and baby. But how many parents are actually doing this? Scholastic took it upon themselves to find out.
In its sixth annual Kids & Family Reading Report, Scholastic determined that in 2016, more than three out of four parents with children ages 0 to 5 started reading aloud before age one. Even better? About 40 percent were doing so before baby hit 3 months, compared to 30 percent in 2014.
More than half of the parents of this age group—62 percent—report that they’re reading to baby five to seven times per week.
Part of this improvement can be attributed to programs making a concerted effort to get books into the hands of infants. For example, last February, Washington, D.C, launched the Books From Birth program. The D.C. Public Library program mails enrolled children a book every single month from birth to age 5. Currently, 27,000 kids are enrolled.
As moms, dads and babysitters of reluctant sleepers can attest, one bedtime story is rarely enough. Two-thirds of parents with kids under 5 say they read more than one book each time they read aloud.
Still, there’s progress to be made. The dropoff by the time kids hit age 6 is large. While they may be able to read a picture book on their on by this point, you’ll be sacrificing bonding time time that 87 percent of kids report loving most about storytime.
Not sure what to read to baby? We can get you started with our 80 favorites.