Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

What’s the story, baby?

By: DR. SUZANNE EGAN

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 



Bio
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:

Interests(1) Brain(1) Administrative Burden(1) TRAP(1) Party(1) Leprechauns(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) Mud kitchens(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) TOY Programme(1) National Awards 2019(1) Autism(3) Wendy Lee(2) Snack Time(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Blocks(1) Diversity(1) Reflective Practice(1) Little Buddies(1) Exclusion(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Mealtimes(1) ERASMUS+(3) Capable(1) documentation(2) SPICE Framework(1) Sweets(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) relationships(17) Arts(1) role playing(1) Confident(1) outdoor space(3) Nuturing interactions(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) STEM(2) Mental Health(3) Family(1) Body Language(1) Snacks(1) Limerick(1) Child mental health(1) Social Skills(1) routine(2) Annual Conference 2019(1) Meet the Members(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Celebrate(1) Fabric(1) Educators(1) Qualifications(1) Relaxation(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) collaboration(1) Health(2) HR(1) Study Trip(1) Mark Twain(1) Glitter(2) Design(1) stories(2) Treasure(1) Engineering(2) First 5(1) Mount Everest(1) Visitors(1) Intention(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Advocacy(1) overhear(1) Patterns(1) Traffic Lights(1) ECEC(1) Mo Scéal(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Flowers(1) Investment(2) Home Corner(1) animals(2) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Stress(2) development(8) University(1) play stories(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Independence(1) CCTV(1) educating(1) Childcare(2) Rituals(1) Spiders(1) Thank you(1) Adoption(1) Creativity(4) Mixed age groups(2) Xbox(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Positivity(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Twitter(1) Vertical grouping(1) Yoga(1) UNCRC(1) Childhood(1) dining(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Afghanistan(1) Arlene Forster(1) Change(1) Liz Kerrins(1) life long learning(1) Mindfulness(2) Breathing(2) Music(3) Exercise(1) Routines(1) AIM(2) Book Club(2) Sustainability(3) Malaguzzi(1) Buddies(1) Traditions(2) Infection Control(1) early years research(1) NAEYC(1) Síolta QAP(1) Sleep(1) Iraq(1) Laugh(1) Pen green(1) dublin(2) maternity health(1) Window(1) Jenga(1) Behaviour(3) Plants(1) Family wall(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Through the looking glass(1) Lego(2) National Holiday(1) UN(1) Trigonometry(1) Culture(2) Arithmetic(1) outdoors(3) Seas Suas(1) Japan(1) christmas(8) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Thanks(1) Consent(1) Imagination(3) Shapes(1) Thinking(1) Mathematicians(1) Reggio(1) GDPR(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Learning Stories(8) interacting(2) Affordability(1) Participation(1) Biting(1) parents(5) Exit interview(1) Reggio Emilia(1) Engineers Week(2) meals(3) story time(1) Children and families(1) Leargas(1) Staff Motivation(1) Feeding(1) refugees(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) College(1) Magnavacchi(1) Margy Whalley(1) Decision Making(1) Sequins(1) Winter(1) Socioemotional development(1) Obesity(1) supportive environments(2) Learning Story Awards(1) Degree(1) transitions(10) Titles(1) Environment(2) San Miniato(4) Workplace well-being(1) worries(1) Valentine's Day(3) First 5 strategy(1) Employee(1) Sport(1) Magic(1) Albert Einstein(1) AsIAm(1) Kerry(1) dining experiences(1) risk(2) Maynooth University(1) Horizon 2020(1) Policy(2) Mayo(1) bonds(1) Leadership(1) budget(1) Visual Impairment(1) MA(1) Teamwork(1) research(6) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Certificate(1) Appreciation(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) education(2) environments(1) Decisions(1) Confidence(1) Nonverbal(1) Scents(1) toddlers(3) outdoor play(6) DCYA(4) linc(1) risky play(2) baby room(1) ICBN(1) Pobal(1) Empathy(1) eating(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Infectious diseases(1) Primary School(2) risk assessment(1) Love(2) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Awards 2018(3) New Appointments(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Inclusion(3) under 3's(3) Belonging(3) Universal Design(2) purpose(1) Budget 2020(1) Running(1) Snakes(1) Maynooth(1) journey(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Hand Hygiene(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Kids Own(1) preschool(2) Wesco(1) Interactions(2) reading(5) Drawing(2) Professionalisation(4) InspireMe.ie(1) Builders(1) Recycle(1) Graduate(1) Creative(1) Settling in(4) Italy(1) Oireachtas(1) Irish(1) Síolta(105) Early Learning and Care(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Giraffe(2) curiosity(3) blog(28) United Nations(1) Smiles(1) experience(1) Masterclass(2) memories(1) Learning Stories Award(3) ReCreate(2) learning(16) NCCA(3) Buddy Bench(1) Maths(4) Supernanny(1) babies(7) Nutrition(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Children's Rights(2) planning(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Leaders in Practice(1) Magda Gerber(1) RIE philosphy(1) Gardening(1) San Minia(1) Storytelling(2) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Elders(1) Self-regulation(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) RTE Investigates(1) Well-Being(9) Learning journals(1) Ceremony(1) Funding(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Frustrations(1) Early Years(1) Fantasy play(1) feisty(1) Whole Group(1) Loss(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) mushrooms(1) Research Seminar(1) Communications(1) Games(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) EM Standing(1) curriculum(5) ECCE(6) The Jelly King(1) National Awards 2018(2) Trade union(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Halloween(2) Laughter(1) Our Little Seed(1) Scéalta Blog(89) Trick or treat(1) Support(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Wrapping paper(1) National Pyjama Day(1) EECERA 2016(1) Dance(1) Maria Montessori(1) Craft(1) Exploring(1) dogs(1) Iceland(1) Queues(1) Online(1) Care-giving routines(1) respect(5) Cork(1) Time Out(1) Meal time(1) Names(1) Awards(2) communication(4) Santa(2) science week(2) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) listening(1) CIT(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Favouritism(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Engagement(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Graduation(1) Performance Management(1) Montessori(3) Workplace Relations(3) Research and Professional Learning(1) INTO(1) early childhood educator(1) Care routines(1) Event Guide(1) Siolta blog(2) UD(1) Early Years Educators(2) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Kilkenny(1) scéalta(29) Playschool(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Budget 2019(2) Art(6) listen(1) European Project(1) grandchild(1) Norway(2) Plastic(1) Prexit(1) Facebook(1) Maternity Leave(1) trust(3) social media(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Eritrea(1) value(1) Challenges(1) Orla Kenny(1) Maths Week(1) Treasure Chest(1) emotions(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) community(5) Community involvement(1) pets(1) Wonder(1) Performing(1) Gratitude(1) Time(1) PIP(1) Shoes(1) Inter-generational(2) Map(1) ears(1) Inspirational(2) Upcycling(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) E.coli(1) Role play(1) Vietnam(1) food(1) Potential(1) Syria(1) Learning Story(1) Competent(1) Weather(1) Grief(1) Story(1) Sustainable(1) Training(2) Photographs(1) Self-Esteem(1) child-centred approach(1) Children's Voice(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Academic Skills(1) emotional environment(1) School Age Childcare(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Cognitive development(1) Aistear(110) Wilenski(1) Impact(1) Awards 2019(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) friendships(1) Human Resources(1) Mantra(1) conversations(1) science(3) CPD(1) Recycling(2) Bereavement(2) Playdough(1) Penguins(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Trade Unions(1) Technology(2) Academics(1) Budget 2018(1) Workforce(1) Communicating(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Engineering Ireland(1) Interaction(1) Anxiety(2) Children's Research Network(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Summer(1) educarer(1) Quality(4) Celebrations(4) Children(1) Easter(1) Sculptures(1) play(31) Self Help Skills(1) MECPI(1) Line-ups(1) Painting(1) IGL(1) Death(2) Touch(1) books(4) Identity(5) Light table(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine