Reading to Newborns: Benefits and Tips

How do you read to such a small child?

It is but natural for you to think so. After all a new born is rarely awake! And even when he is, he can’t really see properly just yet. So you could feel a little funny reading to newborns. This said, here’s what you could do:

  • Hold it in front of him when he’s rolled over to his tummy
  • Hold it above him when he’s lying down and kicking around
  • Read or speak (in a soft soothing voice, with a smile) when you are breastfeeding

What books can you read?

When it comes to reading to infants, there are two types of books that you could read:


  • Those that help him to see. These include close up face pictures with different emotions. Look for baby faces. For example you could try Baby Talk by Dawn Sirett.
  • You could even draw or cut out pictures, stick them in a scrap book and show them to your child. Keep making up a story as you turn the pages. Your voice is soothing for them in any case.
  • You could even just show different patterns. Keep them in a high contrast mode. Some examples are: Look! Look! by Peter Linenthal or I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy. Books with black-and-white pictures like Plyllis L. Tildes’ Baby Animals: Black and White or Tana Hoban’s What is That?, are also very effective. Make sure you hold these books around twelve inches away from the infants eyes for best viewing.


  • Those that help him to hear. You can read just about anything. You don’t even need to read from a book either. Just talk to them. They won’t understand any word anyways. But just your voice will keep them interested. And that’s what matters.

Types of materials?

While reading to newborns, choose books that are either very stiff and can be propped up in the crib during their play time or made of cloth / washable material so that they can be played with during bath time.

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