It's Starts in the Womb

By: DFB Staff Writer

Most parents know the importance of reading aloud to toddlers: it’s one way to help ensure the toddler will experience academic success when he or she enters school. “Fifty percent of the intelligence of children [who have] reached seventeen years of age is developed during the period from the development of the fetus until the age of four.[1]” Every subject students encounter in school demands a more than satisfactory ability to read, but academic achievement is not the only reason we should read aloud to our children and as many know, we shouldn’t wait until our children are toddlers to start doing so. When the child is in the womb, read to them. When the child is born, read to them.

Every day of the child’s life, read aloud to them. Make it a priority, something that cannot be abandoned. Why? Because we now know that “the act of reading together secures people to one another, creating order and connection.”[2] And by the great and vast Mercy of Allaah subhanau wa ta ‘ala, scientists discovered when a parent reads to a child, the child’s “brain activity is synchronizing, creating literal order and connection in a process known as neural coupling.”[3] Creating connections, securing our children to the religion and to us is not a process we want to delay or neglect; it is a process we want to begin before the child is born and maintain throughout the child’s life inshaallaah.

Scientists believe a fetus can recognise its mothers voice while still in the womb and that the mother’s voice soothes the fetus, calms it, slows its heart rate. And some researchers believe reading aloud to your child when they are still in the womb sets the child up for language success. One “study shows that babies in the womb may be able to recognize the specific rhythms and patterns of the stories they hear.[4]” How did the researchers come to believe this? They had mothers read a specific story aloud to their child while the child was still in the womb, and after the children were born, the researchers played a recording of the same story being read aloud. What happened when the infants heard the story they’d been hearing while in the womb? The infants consistently changed their sucking patterns. The infants recognised the story subhanaallaah.

If you’re pregnant alhamdulillaah and you haven’t started reading to your belly, start. If you’ve recently given birth and you have haven’t started reading to your infant, start. If your infant is several months old and reading aloud to him or her is not a daily activity, make it one. But guess what? Mothers are busy and mothers are tired sometimes. The solution: have another family member read aloud to baby. Take turns. Father can read aloud to baby, big sister or big brother can read aloud to baby, grandmother or grandfather can read aloud to baby. What is important is that baby hears a story every single day. But of course, you already know that you shouldn’t read baby anything and everything. Baby should be hearing the Quran every day, and any story book that is read aloud to baby should be Islaamically appropriate inshaallaah. Books written to adhere to the Quran and Authentic Sunnah as understood and practiced by the Salaf as-Salih are your first and best choice after the Quran. So, what will you read to baby today inshaallaah? 

Happy Reading!

 

References

[1] Abdul Mawjood, Salahuddin A. The Biography of Imam Muslim bin Al-Hajjaj. Riyadh: Dar-us-Salam, 2007.

[2] Gurdon, Meghan C. The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction. New York: HarperCollins, 2019.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Mccarthy, Laura F. "What Babies Learn In the Womb." parenting.com. https://www.parenting.com/baby/what-babies-learn-in-the-womb/.

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