Why read to babies?

The first three years of life are when crucial brain development takes place. 

Two babies reading

Recent research shows that children's experiences in their early years significantly affect their brain development, ability to learn, social skills and self-esteem. Children who have an early exposure to books, stories, reading and libraries learn to read more successfully, and do better at school and in later life.

You are your child's first and most important teacher.

Better Beginnings supports parents in this vital role, helping you to build on the knowledge that you already have. Reading with your baby is one of many important home literacy practices. Home literacy practices are all of the things you do in your home that contribute to your child's reading, writing and literacy skills. When you sing nursery rhymes, teach your child names and colours,  tell them stories about when you were little, or point out written words on signs you are laying the foundations for literacy. 

Brainy Babies - little brains doing amazing things.

Research shows that 75% of a child's brain development occurs within the first three years of life!

Babies are born with 100 billion neurons (brain cells). When neurons are stimulated by life experiences they form synapses (pathways between the brain cells). Repeating positive experiences, like holding your baby close and singing nursery rhymes or turning the pages of a book, strengthens these pathways allowing the brain to organise and integrate information. Experiences like being introduced to books, learning the letters of the alphabet, hearing how language flows and works - these types of experiences are the building blocks for reading, writing and listening skills that children will need when they start school. 

Did you know that picture books are the best source of new vocabulary with more than 30 rare words introduced per 1000 words - more than the number of new words introduced in either adult or children's television programs? (Hayes & Ahern, 1988)

As a teacher of over 30 years, I have witnessed the Better Beginnings program helping to transform children’s lives and given them greater potential to grow, learn and develop, perform well at school and succeed in later life.
Councillor David Lagan, Deputy Mayor, City of Stirling

I tell stories in Vietnamese and read to my children in English.  I only started reading English after receiving Better Beginnings. 

One mother reads with her four year old every afternoon after school now.  She said without these books, they would not have any to read. 
Teacher, Remote Community School

It’s wonderful to have support across the community emphasising the importance of reading and language development. 
Community Health Nurse

…I never thought of reading to my baby.  Better Beginnings has really boosted my confidence.