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Family Focus: Reading to Newborns 'Builds Vocabulary'

Our Family Focus series continues with a look at the benefits of reading to newborns. While reading to babies at birth may seem a little early, the benefits can be long-lasting
Our Family Focus series continues with a look at the benefits of reading to newborns.

KSEE24 News has teamed up with First Five Fresno County to break down the "Lifecycle of Literacy." 

While reading to babies at birth may seem a little early, the benefits can be long-lasting. 

"That is very high said little nut brown hair," read Chelsea Bonilla to her five-week-old son, Samuel. He's just a newborn, yet he's already been exposed to a world of literature.

"We just read whenever he's in a quiet moment. He just wants to hear our voices and that calms him so much. We'll read a book a day," she said.

With a big sister who is also read to, he gets a double dose of story time everyday. It is not necessarily 'learning to read' his parents hope Samuel picks up on-- that they know will come with time-- they're more focused on his language development.

"We're really just hoping to expose him to the world of books so that he's got that basis to form his vocabulary from," said Chelsea.

Fresno Pediatrician Melissa Aguirre said they are right on track. "Six-month-olds understand so much more. They can't speak, but they can understand quite a bit because they're developing language."

Whether right at birth, or a few months later, reading to a baby makes a difference later in life.

"Studies have clearly shown that students are three to five times more likely to enter kindergarten ready to read," said Dr. Aguirre while adding that just the introduction to a book starts the learning process.

"Just the fact that you're opening a book and that there's a front and a back and there are words that go with sound," she said.

Each stage after that comes a new learning experience.

"When they turn six months old they're grabbing it and you're thinking I can't get through a book because they're taking ownership of that."

Whether you're nursing, it's bed time or anytime in between, tuck away at least two minutes a day to read to your child. It can mean a world of difference.
     
Next, we will take a look at literacy in toddlers and how not just reading, but everyday interactions help to build a child's vocabulary.

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