The secret to turning your child into a reading dynamo is timing, and according to experts its the 6-month mark

At 6-months-old, you may think your baby better equipped at putting whatever is closest into the mouth, but science says it couldn't be a more ideal time to get them into a culture of reading.

For its Early Reading Matters: Long-term Impacts of Shared Bookreading with Infants and Toddlers on Language and Literacy Outcomes study, the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine observed 250 pairs of mothers and their babies for a period of 4 years, looking at "the quantity of shared book-reading, such as the number of books in the home and days per week spent reading together." 

The collected data showed that "reading quality and quantity of shared book-reading in early infancy and toddlerhood predicted child vocabulary up to four years later, prior to school entry."

NYU School of Medicine researchers also highlighted that writing skills were positively impacted, noting that reading "during toddler years appeared strongly tied to later emergent literacy skills, such as name-writing at age 4."

And if you're wondering what is meant by "quality reading," the researchers said that for their purposes, quality was determined by how much a parent involved their child with reading materials this includes talking about a story along with unpacking character emotions and images, merely reading text isn't enough for your baby to reap the full benefits.

Basically, you need to be like a kids show presenter when reading to your baby but given that the country is in the midst of a reading crisis we'd say it's worth the effort and what better way to bond with your child? 

For SA's reading-for-enjoyment campaign, Nal'ibali, making reading fun is as important as quality because when a parent makes reading fun, children inadvertently "learn that reading is a pleasurable activity." 

Find Nal'ibali's parent guide here to learn how to make reading as fun as possible. 

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