Reading begins in the Womb – World Book Day Part 1

“World Book Day (2nd March) is the biggest celebration of its kind designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading” from

World Book Day is designed to encourage reading from children as young as pre-school, however, the love of reading should begin earlier and the foundation for that love and the skills needed to read actually begins in the womb!

So, leading up to this World Book Day, with my 3 part blog, I want everyone to join my campaign to introduce reading where it actually begins – in the womb, and here’s how to do it…..

During pregnancy

All of your baby’s senses begin their development in the womb and their hearing specifically is one that you can nurture and develop. The indentations that will become their ears form around 9 weeks of pregnancy and by approximately 17/18 weeks your baby will hear their first sounds! This continues to develop over the next few weeks and so by 24 weeks they become more sensitive to sound. The next few weeks after this your baby will begin to respond to the sounds they hear through the womb.

Babyopathy nurtures this ability to naturally help your baby develop – hence reading begins in the womb!

Choose the same time each day, I suggest early evening when you would be looking to introduce ‘bedtime’ for your baby, sit comfortably with no distractions and read to your baby. Choose a simple story and one that you enjoy reading as how you read is just as important as reading itself.

One of my favourite first books is the ‘That’s not my bunny” and others in the range from Usborne Books, not too long and one that is easy to read with enthusiasm using different voice tones. This is important as it is rhythms and tones that your baby will initially recognise not words.

This is why reading begins in the womb. Your baby will learn your voice tones and the patterns of your voice when reading the story and it will be familiar and comforting when they are born. It is also the very foundations of their language and literacy skills. However, there are many other benefits to you doing this!

  • You will be relaxing which means you will be producing serotonin which is well known for the role it plays in your mood and reducing stress and anxiety. When you are stressed your body produces cortisol which can pass through the womb to your baby which can have a direct effect on their brain development. The more you relax, the less cortisol you produce.
  • By reading to your baby your voice tones and patterns will be familiar and therefore comforting to your baby when they are born in to a world of sensory overload!
  • By reading at the same time each day (around the time you want to introduce bedtime) you will be creating a familiar routine before your baby is even born helping you to establish their routine in their first few weeks.