Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

What’s the story, baby?


Tuesday 06 November 2018

Lots of book events take place all across Ireland in October during the annual Children’s Book Festival. These events support literacy, promote a love of books and the joy of reading. But how often is a love of books and reading supported for the youngest members of society in early childhood settings, community settings and at home? In many cases the answer may be daily, but for some infants, being read to or playing with books, is not a regular occurrence.

Some people may think that there’s not much point in reading to babies because they haven’t got the attention span to follow a book, they don’t understand the words or that they won’t benefit from it until they are older. But research conducted in Ireland with 9 month old babies suggests that this is not the case! Data from the Growing Up in Ireland study showed that infants who were read to had higher communication and problem solving skills than those who were not read to. This finding was the case even after we took account of other factors that influence cognitive development, such as the mother’s level of education and whether or not the child was breastfed.

Other research conducted with Irish infants also found that when an infant was read to daily at 6 months old they had higher levels of vocabulary, cognitive and socioemotional skills at 12 months, compared to when they were rarely or never read to. These positive findings link in with the Aistear themes of communicating, exploring and thinking, identity and belonging, and well-being. It’s clear that there are many benefits for infant development from shared book reading experiences in the first year of life. However, the Growing Up in Ireland study, which included over 9,000 infants, also showed that while 80% of 9 month old infants were read to, 20% were not.

Although this research was conducted with infants in a home setting, the findings may have implications for practice in early childhood settings too. Where reading is not already a regular activity in an infant room, it may be beneficial for cognitive and socioemotional development to include it as part of daily activities. Where an opportunity arises, parents might also be advised of the benefits of reading to their infants, either through informal conversation or through posters or information displayed in the setting. In addition to benefiting development during infancy, the broader research on reading to children suggests it has many longer term benefits also, including for academic outcomes.

So grab a good book and settle down for some shared reading – it’s never too soon to start story time!


You may also be interested in: 

Sweet like chocolate: encouraging a taste for reading - Máire Corbett, July 2016 

Dr. Suzanne Egan is a researcher and lecturer in the Department of Psychology in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. Her main research interests lie in the area of social cognition and cognitive development. Her research examines the processes involved in imagination, thinking and reasoning and the factors that support cognitive development in young children.

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

respect(4) emotions(2) Self Help Skills(1) development(5) dining experiences(1) Traffic Lights(1) Norway(2) Sequins(1) education(2) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) refugees(1) feisty(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Decision Making(1) story time(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) routine(2) Iraq(1) Research Seminar(1) Vertical grouping(1) Ceremony(1) Maria Montessori(1) Brain(1) Mount Everest(1) CPD(1) MA(1) Trick or treat(1) Art(6) listening(1) Photographs(1) environments(1) Pobal(1) Awards 2018(3) Maths Week(1) Playdough(1) planning(1) Behaviour(3) listen(1) Pen green(1) Biting(1) Winter(1) San Miniato(3) under 3's(3) Light table(1) Self-Esteem(1) Map(1) Positivity(1) research(4) Family(1) linc(1) ReCreate(1) community(3) Identity and Belonging(2) Training(2) Flowers(1) EECERA 2016(1) Quality(3) Wilenski(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) ICBN(1) Exclusion(1) Names(1) Death(1) ears(1) Oireachtas(1) pets(1) documentation(2) journey(1) risk assessment(1) Interests(1) Academics(1) Wendy Lee(2) Prexit(1) Confident(1) preschool(1) Party(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) risky play(2) Children(1) Jenga(1) Xbox(1) friendships(1) Meet the Members(1) Shoes(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Imagination(1) DCYA(2) Grief(1) babies(5) Care routines(1) Seas Suas(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Malaguzzi(1) early years research(1) San Minia(1) Feeding(1) Snacks(1) Kerry(1) Wonder(1) curiosity(3) Qualifications(1) Capable(1) Policy(2) Socioemotional development(1) Investment(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) eating(1) Weather(1) Treasure(1) communication(4) Upcycling(1) role playing(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) Line-ups(1) Learning Stories Award(2) Afghanistan(1) Fantasy play(1) Awards(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) National Holiday(1) dublin(2) Technology(2) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) play stories(1) Spiders(1) Childcare(1) Primary School(1) trust(2) RIE philosphy(1) Kilkenny(1) INTO(1) PIP(1) experience(1) Engineering(2) Christmas Creativity(2) AsIAm(1) outdoor play(5) Our Little Seed(1) Frustrations(1) conversations(1) Eritrea(1) Autism(1) Interactions(1) Orla Kenny(1) Painting(1) early childhood educator(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Scents(1) Margy Whalley(1) Santa(2) Playschool(1) Recycling(1) GDPR(1) Mathematicians(1) Snack Time(1) Leargas(1) Builders(1) Impact(1) Learning Stories(7) Blocks(1) Síolta QAP(1) Creativity(4) STEM(2) Plants(1) Gardening(1) Twitter(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Home Corner(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Trade Unions(1) dining(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) transitions(8) Event Guide(1) social media(1) Inclusion(1) Inspired Practice Award(3) Traditions(2) Frosty the Snowman(1) Culture(2) toddlers(3) UNCRC(1) Cork(1) Supernanny(1) Leprechauns(1) Sustainable(1) curriculum(5) Facebook(1) mushrooms(1) Tuscan Approach(2) budget(1) Graduation(1) blog(24) AIM(1) Early Years Educators(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Reggio(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Graduate(1) Valentine's Day(2) Wesco(1) worries(1) College(1) Queues(1) memories(1) books(4) Degree(1) Mud kitchens(1) Book Club(2) Well-Being(3) Annual Conference 2017(2) science(3) Mark Twain(1) Bereavement(1) Italy(1) bonds(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) play(26) Limerick(1) Trade union(1) Educators(1) Affordability(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Learning journals(1) Touch(1) ERASMUS+(3) Gratitude(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Meal time(1) EM Standing(1) Budget 2018(1) outdoors(3) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Performing(1) Online(1) Communicating(1) Fabric(1) CIT(1) Story(1) Titles(1) Window(1) Snakes(1) Magnavacchi(1) parents(4) Mixed age groups(2) Síolta(74) scéalta(12) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) meals(2) Self-regulation(1) Music(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Children's Research Network(1) Consent(1) MECPI(1) relationships(11) dogs(1) Adoption(1) Arts(1) Syria(1) Irish(1) Lego(2) educating(1) ECEC(1) christmas(7) educarer(1) Maynooth(1) Advocacy(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Belonging(3) Aistear(79) Administrative Burden(1) Glitter(2) Games(1) ECCE(5) Visitors(1) Halloween(2) Time(1) Sport(1) Magic(1) Craft(1) grandchild(1) Sustainability(2) University(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Independence(1) Kids Own(1) Drawing(2) Identity(4) outdoor space(3) Decisions(1) Thinking(1) Easter(1) Loss(1) Treasure Chest(1) NAEYC(1) Engineers Week(1) Family wall(1) Magda Gerber(1) Settling in(1) reading(4) Aldo Fortunati(4) Time Out(1) Budget 2019(2) Competent(1) Love(1) Exploring(1) Access and Inclusion Model(1) Mayo(1) NCCA(1) Professionalisation(4) National Awards 2018(2) Celebrations(4) Funding(1) Children's Rights(1) Certificate(1) baby room(1) Scéalta Blog(56) Inspirational(2) Health(1) Routines(1) Role play(1) Thank you(1) interacting(2) Sweets(1) Masterclass(2) Favouritism(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) risk(2) Environment(1) Maths(3) overhear(1) Growing up in Ireland(1) Vietnam(1) Potential(1) SPICE Framework(1) The Jelly King(1) Childhood(1) Cognitive development(1) Learning Story(1) animals(1) Care-giving routines(1) Creative(1) Exit interview(1) Running(1) stories(1) learning(14) Montessori(2) Empathy(1) science week(2) Through the looking glass(1)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine