We know that the more positive experiences a child has with language and reading, the more interested in reading they will be and the more motivated they will be to learn to read themselves. It’s much easier for any of us to stick with a difficult task if it’s something we really want to do or something we are genuinely interested in learning. When we feel good, the brain releases endorphins that actually make it easier for us to retain what we learn. Snuggling and singing with babies helps lay down permanent pathways for future language development.
You can add a snuggle time to every baby storytime! If you present storytime in sessions, you could choose one lullaby each session and end storytime with all the babies in their parents’ arms while you sing, snuggling close and face to face. Or you could rotate between three or four different lullabies, or ask the parents if they have a song from when they were little that they could teach the group.
I always have a tough time singing “Rock a Bye Baby” so if that’s the case with you too, here’s some of the other lullabies I like.
Hush Little Baby
Sleep Baby Sleep
All the Pretty Horses
After you snuggle and sing, you can tell the grown-ups: “When you snuggle and sing lullabies with your children, their brains begin to associate language with positive emotions. Children with positive language experiences are often more motivated to learn to read themselves. Singing with your child will help them get ready to read!”