Raising Reader Kids #MyFriendAlexa

Every time I step into a bookstore with my son, we both seek our respective corners to pick our read and dive into it. Many times, I end up picking my set quickly and see my 4.5 year old engrossed into the vivid colors and texts of the books. Moments like this give me so much joy and contentment. Much to my dismay, I have also seen people rolling their eyes at me when I pick a large bundle of books for Ayaansh or even have heard comments like, “Why are you bombarding him with so much books?”

But ask my son and he will tell you a different tale for sure! We both are book fanatics and given a choice between books and other things, we tend to choose BOOKS! And we both believe that ‘more is less’ when it is BOOKS!

Ayaansh reading one of his favorite books!
This image is a part of Raising Reader Kids – a series of blogposts for #MyFriendAlexa

So how does one become a reader? The straight answer would be: ‘You choose a genre, grab the bestselling and read.’ But it takes much more continuous effort and time to be a voracious reader. You need to raise them as a reader right from the womb. Yes, you heard me right!

Reading begins from womb and lasts forever!

So, let me introduce you all to the topics of my blogposts that will talk about Raising Reader Kids from the womb till forever. In this series, I will be covering up topics like:

  1. Reading begins at womb!
  2. The first year of bookish joy!
  3. A toddler’s journey of reading books (2-4 years).
  4. Fiction & Non-Fiction Books.
  5. Our favorite Indian authors and publications.
  6. Blending books & activities.
  7. Weave a story!
  8. Usborne Publishing – a paradise for readers!

With this, let me begin the first topic of the series:

Reading Begins at Womb!

Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful phases a women experiences in her life. For many women, especially during her first pregnancy, there is an equal amount of anxiety and stress. Reading books aloud to your foetus not only calms the nerves but also helps her to bond with the life within.

When I was pregnant with Ayaansh, I was often told by my mom & my OB-Gyn to talk and bond with the little bumpie. Honestly, as a first time mom, I found it to be a little bizarre to just have that one-way communication. Now, books were my only solace. I used to read a few books repetitively to him. While, the texts were mostly spiritual or consisted of shlokas, I found myself having that inner-peace and silently bonding with my baby. Fortunately, Ayaansh turned out to be an inquisitive and curious reader as I was during my childhood.

So, this time when I am pregnant with my second child, I knew the importance of reading and talking to your womb from the beginning and didn’t waste a second. While the first trimester was hard, Ayaansh was my constant support in talking with the baby. He read a few books himself, spoke to the baby about our day, created his own stories and narrated facts for the unborn child. That is when I realized how important it is to be well-read and communicative.

So here are some of the reasons why you should be talking to your bumps and help them discover the reader in them. I shall also be sharing few tips and some of my favorite books to be read aloud to your foetus and nurture them with magic of books.

THE SCIENCE SAYS:

  1. At around 18 weeks of pregnancy, our little babies begin to hear the sounds of our body like our heartbeats and our tummies rumbling.
  2. This further amplifies at week 26, when the baby can actually listen to our surroundings and begins to recognize his/her mother’s voice. The scientific research also suggests that the language acquisition begins at this time.
  3. But the actual language absorption begins during the last 10 weeks of pregnancy. It is during this stage when the parents or siblings should talk or read maximum to the baby.
  4. Studies have also proved that a foetus who has been introduced to multiple languages in the womb, immediately recognizes the difference between their mother tongue and foreign languages in just few hours after they are born.
  5. Studies show that, the earlier the baby is exposed to reading, the more they will enjoy it and the better they will perform in school.
  6. Will you believe if I say, our little geniuses from the womb identify the vowel sounds of our native language right from 32nd week? Isn’t this marvelous?

As parents, we all want our children to be healthy, intelligent and active, isn’t it so? I can’t stop emphasizing how reading books when in womb helps them to grow into their better selves. Here are the three ways, our little angels learn when in womb.

  1. By experiences: Infants recognize the familiar voices and music they heard while in the womb. These voices soothe them after they are born. There has been an evidence where a mom was used to reading Dr. Seuss’s book to her baby in belly in a particular tone. Minutes after the child was born, when the mother read the same book in the particular tone, the baby calmed himself and gave her the most beautiful smile. Isn’t this enough reason why you should pick one right now?
  2. By repetition: Infants love rhythms, repetitions and rhymes. So pick a book that has rhythms or repetitive words and maybe make your own music for the poems or rhymes you read to your bumpie.
  3. By association: Your baby may learn to connect certain experiences to the way you are feeling at the time. For instance, if you read a particular book to calm yourself (like reading spiritual ones which calms me down) when pregnant, babies associate the same books with a sense of calmness too.

Babies and their little brains are so interesting, right? So, let me share the tips on how to read to your foetus and its benefits for you and your little one.

  1. Setting up a routine: I usually read a book to my bump before I take a nap in the afternoon and before going to bed. Ayaansh joins me in this by talking to his ‘Babylou’ (that’s what we call our little bud). I have observed that my baby is most active during this time. Going ahead, I am pretty sure that sticking to this ritual will enable us to calm and enjoy ourselves.
  2. Developing the sense of touch: Just place your hand on the womb or gently rub your tummy and read. This develops baby’s sense of touch and listening, thereby setting up a platform to multitask.
  3. Reading relaxes mom-to-be and the baby: While you read to your womb, your stress levels go down and you tend to relax and so does the baby. This causes the fetal heart rate to stabilize, and the baby draws solace from the mother’s voice.
  4. Voice Modulation: While we read to our children, it is very important to modulate our voice and emote the feelings in the book. Our foetus grasp the sound, tone, emotions and depth of the voice and actually helps babies develop listening skills earlier in life. Also a consistent and regular read will help babies develop attention span while in the womb.
  5. Ask Questions and be rewarded later: We now know that reading to our womb promotes closeness between us and the child, but it is also imperative that we take a pause ask a question while we read and then continue our story. For example, imagine you are reading about an apple tree. Read few lines and take a pause to ask questions like, “Do you know what color is the apple?” OR “Mumma enjoys eating apples and so do you. So, do you know how does apple taste?” Answer them too. You can repeat this pattern even after they are breastfeeding or start their solids. This way of reading makes them attentive and inquisitive.
  6. Descriptive Reading: I shall again give you an example of an apple tree. While you read about it, describe in detail how the tree looks: the vivid shades of the colors, the pointy branches or the curved leaves, the juicy apples, etc. This way, you are fostering imagination to your child right from the very beginning.

Now, even though few of you might not be a voracious reader, I hope the above tips help you nurture your little one’s right from the womb. And if you are already a mother, it’s never too late to start reading yourself or for your child. Reading books is that joy which multiplies a thousand fold when shared with others. Grab a book and sit down with your child and simply read. OR wait for my posts in this series where I shall be sharing more details.

And now, it’s time for some book recommendations for prego-mommies like me. The below mentioned book are what I enjoy reading to my ‘Babylou‘ in the womb and I sincerely hope that you would enjoy too:

  1. Pregnancy Books or Journals:
    These books guide us, moms-to-be, on how to stay positive during this phase, our dietary requirements, how to develop and nurture our foetuses, exercises, baby’s early years, postpartum care, etc.
    1. Ayurvedic Garbha Sanskar by Dr. Shri Balaji Tambe is all about having a balanced and healthy pregnancy.
    2. Virtue Story Book by Dr. Nitika Sobti talks about 40 virtue-stories that parents-to-be can read aloud to their foetus.
    3. The Wonder Years by Dr. Martin Ward Platt is an essential guide to child development from 0 months till 5 years.
    4. How to Raise a Healthy Child by Magna Publications is a guide from conception till child development.
    5. Your Child can think like a genius is a book that provides various activities, quizzes, etc. for parents to raise a genius child

2. Books based on Personalities: Being an ardent fan of Bhagat Singh and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, I love reading about them to Ayaansh and for my Babylou. Reading about such iconic freedom fighters would instill values like courage, discipline and patriotism in my baby. And women iconic figures like Audrey Hepburn and Maria Montessori can never be ignored for the philanthropic and compassionate nature.

Choose your favorite icons and read about them to your child. It will instill the qualities and the very characteristics you read. Remember Abhimanyu from Mahabharata who heard all about Chakravyuh while in mother’s womb? If you don’t know the story, its time to move to my 3rd category of books!

3. Epics & Fables: Ramayana in Rhyme is our favorite Indian epic book. Ayaansh loves listening to them and almost can recite the most of Ramayana. This book is crisp, has a rhyming pattern and can be easily put into a tune for the womb-baby!
I also love to read the moral-value stories from Hitopadesh, Panchatantra and Aesop’s Fables to both my 4.5 year old and my Babylou!

4. Dr. Seuss! makes reading fun!: Definitely this is one of my favorite children’s author, who still charms me into the magical world. Oh, The Places You’ll Go and Horton Hears a Who! are my eternal favorites. These books are an absolute delight and you must read it!

5. Classics: The category name says it all! Reading stories from this ever eternal books authored by Giles Andreae, Julia Donaldson, Roald Dahl, Eric Carle are a must. Their stories are fun to read with great illustrations and have a learning at the end. Curious George is yet again one of my favorite reads of all time!

6. Books that talk about Love: Re-affirming that you love your little ones brings them so much happiness and comfort. Books that talk about love and being happy brings joy to you and your little ones. I read this book ‘No Matter What’ for Ayaansh telling him that my love for him and the foetus will be impartial and equal. So, choose your favorites and if you are pregnant with your second/third, these category of books are a must read!

7. For Ayaansh & Babylou: Ayaansh has been supportive of my pregnancy and is looking forward for his Baby Sister/Brother. So the books like ‘How Big is our Baby?’ and ‘Baby On Board’ helps him to understand the growth and development of our little bun. While I read this to Ayaansh, he prefers to read them to his Babylou, explaining the child about his/her growth. Reading such books helps both my babies to bond even before they see each other.

I am sure there are many other books out there, that are yet to be explored or read by us. Trust me given a chance we would just plunge into the ocean of books and never come out! Because, for us reading is not just an activity but, a different experience that takes us into a different world and allows us to get past behind every doors without holding us back.

Okay, I get it! Maybe, it’s too much for today? So wait for my next blogpost that would talk about introducing books to your newborn, how to read them and raise them as a reader.

I hope you have loved reading this post, so please share your comments about this post below and feel free to share it in your social media or friends and expectant moms. Together, let us all raise reader kids!

All my posts under this series can be found in social media by using #themummastartupwrites and #themummastartupblogs

“With this post I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter‘s My Friend Alexa”


49 comments

  1. We are also expecting our first kid, and as parents to be, reading this blog made me realise the importance of reading to our kids and starting it early. The article is very nicely written, for it kind of rekindled my own lost love of reading books. Books recommendation is a big help. I would certainly want my kid to be a ‘reader kid’. Thanks alot for the blog, Amritha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lovely Amritha, such a detailed and well-written post. I missed reading book during my pregnancy. Though I read a few books but not loud to my bump. Now, I make it a habit to read books daily to my twins.

      Like

  2. It is absolutely correct that a child start reading right from the womb. even I believe it 200% because my elder daughter is so keen and interested in reading books because I used to do the same when I was pregnant with her. secondly when I will expecting second child I used to listen a lot of music and believe me my daughter is an amazing singer at the age of 4. definitely I suggest mothers to start reading books when a baby .

    By the way I must say you have a great collection of books for your Ayaansh. And do you suggest Ruskin bond for a child of 6 years?

    Liked by 1 person

    • This post is quite an eye opener especially the bit about reading to the baby in the womb. My daughter and myself are also voracious readers though my wife is not as keen on books as she is on the newspaper and magazines which she reads without fail.

      Like

  3. i did not read to my womb but I did read to my daughter every night before bed. my son was too fidgety but now he’s asking me to read to him. i guess he watches his sister read so he’s getting the hang of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amritha, we both r reader buddies n our kids r too….
    I too use to ask kunal to sing n talk to our baby when I was expecting Aayera and when she was out, she use to fall a sleep on the song her dad sang when she was inside…. ain’t it beautiful. …

    Also I use to read when I was expecting n now Aayera loves books just like me and has also started reading on her own now. It’s a delight for me to see Aayera reading books at night for herself n even for Aaryaveer when he doesnt sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very informative post, Amritha! My brother are I are an avid reader and thanks to our parents for that. This brought back a childhood memory where we had a ritual of going to the famous bookstore Crossword every Saturday. My family and I spent time there reading in our favorite corners.

    Like

  6. Wow wow and wow…loved your theme for alexa. this is something that close to my heart. this post was so informative with great detailing. I agree reading starts from the womb and this helps a lot in intellectual development of kids and also help in creating an emotional bond between mother and child. you had shared really great list of books, I am sure will help pregnant mothers to pick one for themselves. looking forward for next.

    Like

  7. I have been a voracious reader all my life, and when I was pregnant with my first son, I read every day to him. Glad to say my son too turned out to be a voracious reader

    Like

  8. Honestly, I wasn’t aware that babies can develop interest in reading while in womb! I know that the actions of mother affect baby’s growth in womb, so the reading must also be one of them.

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  9. Very well written article, Amritha. And an amazing theme for the campaign. I agree with you that reading begins at womb. Your tips & book recommendations would be really helpful for new parents & those who want to raise a reader baby.

    Like

  10. It is amazing to see our kids share our love for books. Even my daughter finds herself list when it comes to books. I also made sure that my son shared the same live right from the time he was existing inside of me. Great share Amritha

    Like

  11. I appreciate the efforts you have taken up to compose so much information in this post.. I also felt strange talking to the bump during my pregnancy , but yes it definitely helps.

    Like

  12. This is 500% true, I am witnessing this truth in my son now, who is an ardent reader. My husband and my mom both say that it is because I read so many books when I carried him, so yes to instill the reading quality in your kids start practicing from the days of the womb. Congratulations Amritha enjoy these precious days!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Such a detailed post for Mom to be. You have covered every minute details for creating a healthy and smart baby. Books indeed make loads of difference if chosen while in womb.

    Like

  14. LOved reading this post as I totally agree we need to begin reading to the baby in the womb so he picks on it and stays with him forever. I have also tried and tested this and can see the change in my kids.

    Like

  15. I love reading books and so does my son. He is just 5 and is crazy for book reading session at night. I got him some great beginner books to read and he loves to read and hear both.. Story narration with dramatics is what make him more interested.

    Like

  16. Agree Developing habit of reading in kids start from beginning. These tips would help a lot. #MyFriendAlexa #dewreads

    Like

  17. Such a well-written post and I liked how you have given all the details. I completely agree to it and I am lucky that I got this information from my mom when I was expecting! It kept myself busy with reading, music and talking to my baby and it really helped.

    Like

  18. I agree with you completely that reading starts from the womb. Reading habit not just help kids in their congnative development but also improve their imaginative power. Very informative post.

    Like

  19. Amrita, first of all congratulations for the pregnancy! Lots of love to Babylou & Ayansh! I loved the pictures represented in the article. The post is quite detailed and it is really interesting to know how soon the human mind develops , even when its in the womb. Nicely written. Look forward to reading more of your articles. All the best for the challenge.

    Like

  20. Kids and reading goes a long way and what best if it turns into a habit. My son courtesy covid has started reading various books and exploring and experimenting various DIY activities and feel nice seeing him do it… Thanks for sharing your experiences..

    Like

  21. Babies can identify the vowel sounds of our native language right from 32nd week!! This is just amazing. I never knew. This is definitely an interesting read. Thank you for sharing such a detailed post on how to raise bibliophiles!

    Like

  22. I am amazed with the facts that you can find regarding the foetus being able to understand words and book reading evolution in this post. Wow, it’s great to see your kid read ardently even before he turns 5. The book choices too are cool.

    Like

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