According to the Commission of Reading, “The single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.”
But when is a good time to start reading the Bible to little ones? Plenty of doctors, educators and research suggest “the sooner the better”. Here’s just a few of the reasons we’ve compiled.
It’s an opportunity to cuddle and bond.
Even if an infant doesn’t understand what you’re saying, there’s a perfect moment to hold them close and enjoy some quality time, while looking on to a colorful storybook (Baby Center).
It helps teach them how to speak.
Babies will pick up “on the rhythm of language — rather than the content” as they listen to you (Baby Center). It’s important that we talk to them, not just around them, helping them see our mouths move and form sounds. Often, in response to reading aloud, babies will “make sounds. They coo, gurgle, babble, and eventually, talk” (NAEYC).
It introduces the world in which we live.
Images, content and rhythms contained in baby Bible stories and other Christian children’s stories offer a wonderful foundation to vocabulary, social norms and object association. Making links between pictures, stories and events helps them better understand the world around them and their place in it (NAEYC).
We want children to recognize God’s voice.
In John 10:3-5, “The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought them out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Who’s to say it’s ever too soon to start letting God’s word become alive and active in a little one’s life?
It helps develop listening skills.
Reading aloud to infants and creates “an interest in sounds”, which “helps develop listening skills” (Baby Center). Listening is key to learning to communicate with those around them. Plus, “Very young babies love to hear familiar voices” (NAEYC).
It stimulates imagination.
Even at a very young age, our little ones have a lot of growing to do – their imagination included. The more they hear our voices, as we share stories, the more their little brain will start firing, creating further curiosity and potential for imagination. In a culture full of TV and video games, we can’t start instilling a desire for creative-thinking soon enough.
It creates a wonderful habit.
The sooner we can get into a rhythm of reading to our kiddos, the better. In addition to all of the physical and mental development, we get into the habit of spiritual development at an early age. “Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation,” Joel 1:3. We’re fighting the pace of our culture by saying, “The Bible and spiritual development are priority in our home.”
Do you have any other reasons you’d like to add? Maybe some research you’ve come across? Or a personal testimony? We’d love to hear! Share below in the comments!
We also invite you to record a free Bible story in your voice and email it to a child you love. Just click “Send Your Free Book” below. Happy reading!