How Early Is Too Early to Read with Your Child?

You know how important reading is, but you’re a busy parent. You want to do the right thing by your little one without spending your whole dang life reading and hoping it’s enough. Here’s the skinny on how early you should read and what your basic goals should be.

How Early Is Too Early?

Answer: never. You can even start reading to your child in the womb. Babies love hearing mom’s voice, and dad’s too, so it’s beneficial to have your partner read to your tummy as well.

Reading to your newborn is just as useful – any text is great, though rhyming is especially helpful to learn the rhythm of language. However, by the time your babe is 3-6 months old and begins to focus on the book in your hands, you’ll want to switch to targeted books that include faces and shapes.

Whatever you choose to read, it’s an important activity from the youngest ages.

Your Daily Goal: 30,000 Words

New studies are showing that a huge part of the achievement gap may be related to how many words kids hear from their parents (not including teachers) when they’re young. However, this doesn’t mean you need to read to your child all day long.

Some parents get concerned that they never read early enough or long enough, and so they simply throw up their arms in defeat. Don’t do that. Instead of wondering whether or not you’re hitting the mark, set a goal: about 30,000 words per day, according to science.

That’s roughly equivalent to reading The Cat in the Hat 18 times, so if you can choose a few longer books to read in the evening – plus interact with your child meaningfully throughout the day – you’ll be in the right neighborhood.

So how early is too early? Never. But don’t stress yourself out: Dedicate a reasonable amount of time to speaking and reading, and you’ll do just fine.