Infant and dog

The Best Sort of Book to Read to Infants, According to Science

It’s pretty clear that reading to your baby is the right move. Not only is it the right thing to do, but people are actually… wait for it… reading to their kids. Right? According to the U.S. Department of Education, as of 2012, 83% of kids 3-5 were read to three or more times a week. That’s pretty great!


Thing is, not all books are equally beneficial to babies. It’s true that merely hearing a parent’s voice is a good thing for a baby’s cognitive development, but some books are better than others, at least as far as reading to infants is concerned. Lisa S. Scott, Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Florida, conducted a study to find out which sorts of books are best to read to your infant.


The study brought in six-month-old infants and split them into three groups: one was read books containing six individually named characters; another was read books containing just one label for all the characters (such as “Hitchel”); and the third was read nothing special for the study.


Three months later, Scott found the only group to display any notable differences was the group who’d been read characters with individual names. Scott says, “It turned out that only those who received books with individually labeled characters showed enhanced attention compared to their earlier visit.” For infants, then, it’s important for them to read books that refer to specific characters or objects with unique names. So it’s better for a book to show a bunch of different people with different names rather than showing a bunch of different people and call them all “Human.”


The result of good parenting. | via GIPHY


Scott recommends Pat the Bunny, but we’re sure you’ve got your own early childhood book recommendations given the study’s results. Share your preferred books for babies in the comments!