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:

Exit interview(1) Norway(2) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Early Years(1) Book Club(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) Trade union(1) Routines(1) Investment(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Learning journals(1) Touch(1) Vertical grouping(1) Shapes(1) Care-giving routines(1) journey(1) SPICE Framework(1) Reggio(1) CIT(1) Eritrea(1) christmas(8) Weather(1) Celebrations(4) baby room(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Early Learning and Care(1) communication(4) Plants(1) Photographs(1) Dance(1) Through the looking glass(1) Lego(2) Feeding(1) Scents(1) respect(4) Visitors(1) Diversity(1) Stress(2) science(3) play stories(1) Graduate(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Oireachtas(1) eating(1) Magnavacchi(1) worries(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Engineers Week(2) Settling in(2) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) friendships(1) Communicating(1) Competent(1) Blocks(1) Online(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) experience(1) outdoor play(6) social media(1) Síolta QAP(1) Santa(2) Trigonometry(1) Advocacy(1) Leargas(1) emotions(2) listening(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Mathematicians(1) Story(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) St. Patrick's Day(1) NAEYC(1) Inspirational(2) stories(2) documentation(2) Self Help Skills(1) Budget 2018(1) Bereavement(1) Thinking(1) AsIAm(1) Fantasy play(1) Kilkenny(1) Orla Kenny(1) Training(2) Role play(1) Patterns(1) relationships(12) Appreciation(1) Inter-generational learning(1) Síolta(98) Inter-generational(1) Maria Montessori(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) preschool(2) research(5) feisty(1) Research Seminar(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Identity and Belonging(3) Spiders(1) pets(1) Identity(4) risk(2) Children(1) Japan(1) Visual Impairment(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Mindfulness(2) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Iraq(1) Yoga(1) Research Conference 2019(1) Workplace well-being(1) Frosty the Snowman(1) Thank you(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(1) books(4) mushrooms(1) Time(1) Quality(3) Playschool(1) CPD(1) Games(1) Wendy Lee(2) outdoor space(3) Loss(1) refugees(1) Love(2) Our Little Seed(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Buddy Bench(1) Sustainability(3) Community involvement(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Annual Conference 2019(1) Design(1) Albert Einstein(1) supportive environments(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Recycling(2) NCCA(2) Kids Own(1) Maths(4) environments(1) Sweets(1) Socioemotional development(1) Care routines(1) Academic Skills(1) Meal time(1) child-centred approach(1) interacting(2) Workplace Relations(3) Home Corner(1) Traditions(2) Irish(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Special Needs Assistants(1) Party(1) development(8) Mayo(1) GDPR(1) Prexit(1) Mental Health(3) Syria(1) TOY Programme(1) Imagination(3) Workforce(1) toddlers(3) education(2) dublin(2) Ceremony(1) Engineering(2) Little Buddies(1) dining experiences(1) Art(6) conversations(1) Penguins(1) Growing up Outdoors(1) Autism(3) Impact(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) bonds(1) United Nations(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) dining(1) Anxiety(2) planning(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Laugh(1) Wrapping paper(1) Change(1) Awards 2019(1) Wesco(1) Decisions(1) Children's Research Network(1) Pen green(1) Facebook(1) Shoes(1) Social Skills(1) ICBN(1) Running(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Malaguzzi(1) Culture(2) Technology(2) Mixed age groups(2) Easter(1) Gardening(1) transitions(9) Belonging(3) Titles(1) Mud kitchens(1) The Jelly King(1) Celebrate(1) Motor neuron disease(1) Mount Everest(1) Consent(1) UNCRC(1) curriculum(5) Self-regulation(1) blog(28) Empathy(1) Halloween(2) MECPI(1) Flowers(1) Buddies(1) UN(1) Maynooth(1) Educators(1) Mark Twain(1) Aistear(103) San Minia(1) San Miniato(4) Italy(1) Grief(1) Health(1) Giraffe(2) IGL(1) Biting(1) Sociodramatic play(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) First 5 strategy(1) Gratitude(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) Exploring(1) Seas Suas(1) grandchild(1) educating(1) Exclusion(1) Interaction(1) Childhood(1) budget(1) meals(3) Decision Making(1) EM Standing(1) babies(6) Challenges(1) Death(1) curiosity(3) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Interactions(1) Margy Whalley(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Primary School(2) Treasure(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(1) Nutrition(1) Upcycling(1) Funding(1) Montessori(2) First 5(1) Map(1) Performing(1) Siolta blog(2) INTO(1) Maternity Leave(1) Confident(1) Learning Story Awards(1) Limerick(1) Magda Gerber(1) Teamwork(1) MA(1) food(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Meet the Members(1) Sculptures(1) Queues(1) Treasure Chest(1) Well-Being(6) Cork(1) Winter(1) Magic(1) Brain(1) Mo Scéal(1) Arlene Forster(1) AIM(2) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Pobal(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) National Awards 2018(2) learning(15) community(5) listen(1) Rituals(1) Potential(1) Child mental health(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Laughter(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Valentine's Day(3) educarer(1) science week(2) Glitter(2) trust(2) Relaxation(1) Capable(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Afghanistan(1) Academics(1) early childhood educator(1) role playing(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) early years research(1) Affordability(1) animals(2) Time Out(1) Creative(1) Smiles(1) UD(1) Learning Story(1) Event Guide(1) Builders(1) Line-ups(1) Drawing(2) Tuscan Approach(2) Awards 2018(3) Painting(1) Trick or treat(1) linc(1) Storytelling(2) Employee(1) under 3's(3) Qualifications(1) Obesity(1) Graduation(1) Professionalisation(4) Nonverbal(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) National Awards 2019(1) Childcare(2) Deirdre Rogers(1) overhear(1) Jenga(1) Masterclass(2) DCYA(4) Exercise(1) Degree(1) Xbox(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Universal Design(2) Sport(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) reading(4) Budget 2019(2) National Holiday(1) memories(1) Twitter(1) Inclusion(3) Music(3) Independence(1) Snakes(1) Scéalta Blog(78) Playdough(1) ears(1) Window(1) Self-Esteem(1) Breathing(2) Policy(2) Reggio Emilia(1) Children's Rights(1) ECCE(6) RIE philosphy(1) scéalta(25) Family wall(1) STEM(2) Learning Stories(7) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Adoption(1) University(1) Arithmetic(1) Family(1) Awards(2) Communications(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Wilenski(1) Traffic Lights(1) Early Years Educators(1) Snack Time(1) Leprechauns(1) PIP(1) play(29) Administrative Burden(1) Positivity(1) Mantra(1) outdoors(3) Certificate(1) Thanks(1) Fabric(1) Maths Week(1) Snacks(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Frustrations(1) Light table(1) Recycle(1) Trade Unions(1) Arts(1) story time(1) Mealtimes(1) Names(1) parents(5) Engineering Ireland(1) EECERA 2016(1) routine(2) dogs(1) Performance Management(1) Body Language(1) ReCreate(2) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(1) Kerry(1) Sustainable(1) risk assessment(1) maternity health(1) Craft(1) Vietnam(1) Creativity(4) Plastic(1) ERASMUS+(3) ECEC(1) Behaviour(3) emotional environment(1) Wonder(1) Horizon 2020(1) College(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Favouritism(1) Maynooth University(1) Interests(1) risky play(2) Cognitive development(1) Sequins(1) Supernanny(1) Environment(2)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine