Skip to main content

Reading Aloud with Infants: The Controversy, the Myth, and a Case Study

Abstract

Reading aloud to infants continues to be the focus of controversy between educators, researchers, and health care professionals. This article will provide insight into what research says about reading aloud to infants as well as the results of a case study of a six-month-old infant who has been read aloud to in utero to the present time. The results of this case study confirm that parents and caregivers reading aloud to infants is necessary in developing literacy skills that are paramount to book awareness, print awareness, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension, all of which are stepping stones to learning to read and write.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Anderson, R. C. (1984). Becoming a nation of readers: The report on the commission of reading, Pittsburgh, PA: National Academy of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Berk, L. E., & Winsler, A. (1985). Scaffolding children’s learning. Vygotsky and early childhood education. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Brenner, D., Hiebert, E., Holland, J. W., Miles, R., Riley, M. H., & Tompkins, R. (2007). Eyes on text: Understanding opportunity to read in reading first classrooms. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Reading Conference.

  4. Calkins, L. (2000). Let the words work their magic. Instructor, 110(3), 25–28.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Curtis, G. B., & Schuler, J. (2005). Your baby’s first year week by week. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Lifelong.

    Google Scholar 

  6. De l’Etoile, S. K. (2006). Infant behavioral responses to infant-directed singing and other maternal interactions. Infant Behavior and Development, 29(3), 456–470.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. DeLoache, J. S., & Mendoza, O. A. P. (1987). Joint picturebook interactions of mothers and one-year-old children. British Journal of Development Psychology, 5, 111–123.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Honig, A. S., & Shin, M. (2001). Reading aloud with infants and toddlers in child care settings: An observational study. Early Childhood Education Journal, 28(3), 193–197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Jusczyk, P. W., & Hohne, E. A. (1997). Infants’ memory for spoken words. Science, 277(5334), 1984–1986.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. McMahon, R. (1996). Introducing infants to the joy of reading. Dimension of Early Childhood, 24, 236–239.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Murkoff, H., Eisenberg, A., & Hathaway, S. (2003). What to expect the first year. New York: Workman Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Nash, M. (1997). Fertile minds in special report: How a child’s brain develops. Time, 149(23), 48–56.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Ninio, A. (1983). Joint book reading as a multiple vocabulary acquisition device. Child Development, 54, 445–451.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Shore, R. (1997). Rethinking the brain: New insights into early development. New York: Families and Work Institute.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Snow, C. E., & Goldfield, B. A. (1983). Turn the page please: Situation specific language acquisition. Journal of Child Language, 10, 551–569.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jeanne W. Holland.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Holland, J.W. Reading Aloud with Infants: The Controversy, the Myth, and a Case Study. Early Childhood Educ J 35, 383–385 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-007-0203-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Infants
  • Read alouds
  • Parents
  • Caregivers
  • Health care professionals
  • Early childhood
  • Infant research
  • Reading research
  • Fluency
  • Vocabulary
  • Print awareness
  • Book awareness
  • Vocabulary development
  • Comprehension
  • Reading and writing