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Family Focus: Is Prenatal Reading Beneficial?

From prenatal to third grade, we're taking a look at what's important at each stage as your child learns to read. We start with whether it's beneficial to read to baby in the womb.
KSEE24 News has teamed up with First Five Fresno County for a series of stories called "Family Focus: Lifecycle of Literacy."

From prenatal to third grade, we're taking a look at what's important at each stage as your child learns to read. 

Believe it or not, your child is already learning before he or she even arrives.

Like all parents, Andrew Nunez and Jesseca Wright want their child to be successful. And they're trying to give her an early start. "We're trying to read to her everyday and get her listening to books everyday," said Jesseca.
 
Not even born yet, their little girl has heard countless children's books. Jesseca's parents read to her while she was in the womb, as well. "By the time I was three I was able to read, so they really believe that if you start early they'll be able to read early," she said of her parents.
 
Research does not completely support that theory, but it doesn't dispute it either.
 
"I don't know that {prenatal reading} actually helps them to read better because literature does not support that, but that does provide an opportunity for bonding for that mom and that baby," said Fresno Pediatrician Dr. Melissa Aguirre.

Research also shows the more you talk the more you contribute to your child's language development. Reading is a good way to communicate to your unborn child. It also creates good habits that can lead to early reading down the road.
 
"You know that if she's reading to baby in the womb she's much more likely to develop a pattern of doing that when the baby is born," said Dr. Aguirrie.
 
Rhyming language, such as Dr. Seuss books, is especially well absorbed by the baby in the womb.
     
When Andrew and Jesseca read Dr. Seuss books to their unborn child, she becomes very active, especially when dad's reading. Dr. Aguirre said it tells her the baby does respond to what she hears outside the womb and reading to her before she arrives is a great way to nurture her already developing brain.

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