Study: Reading at least 1 book a day to your child could improve language development

A recent study from the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine has found that daily reading can improve language development in infants 12 months and younger. 

The study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine in December analyzed the development of language in toddlers and found that infants who read at least one book a day demonstrated improved language scores as early as nine months of age. 

In this randomized study, parents were given a set of 20 children's books specifically chosen by researchers to support early language development in toddlers. The books were also interactive and included print media. The enrolled families agreed to read to their infants at least once per day and have their children tested at various visits throughout the course of the study. 

 "One book each day is an easy goal for new families to try. To see that there is a measurable improvement in speaking and understanding before one year old is very exciting," said Adam M. Franks, M.D., professor of family and community health at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and corresponding author on the study.

"While our team is excited about our findings, the real winners are the participating children and families in this area that have been benefited from the bonding experience of experiencing this co-reading through their participation in the project," Franks added. 

While the authors hope to add to this study to find more research in language development, previous research already indicates communication is key in helping your child develop good language skills. 

In an article written for the Associated Press back in 2016, Catherine E. Laing a linguistics professor wrote that babies first start learning language by listening not to individual words, but to the rhythm and intonation of the speech stream – that is, the changes between high and low pitch, and the rhythm and loudness of syllables in speech. Parents often exaggerate these features of the language when talking with their infants, and this is important for early language learning.

She added that newly born infants are ready to start learning the language that surrounds them.