The Importance of Early Age Books for Speech and Development

Reading is arguably the most crucial skill that children ever develop. Reading is required for nearly every task that someone completes for the first time. Instruction booklets, assignment sheets, memos from bosses, the outsides of cartons or containers, recipes, and comic strips all have to be read. One of the best ways to foster reading development even before children are able to read is by reading to them. However, there are benefits that reach beyond the page for toddlers. Let’s explore how reading can help them in speech and cognitive development.

Reading Development

Learning to read begins with listening to someone read. We not only teach children the concepts in the book, but we also teach them how to hold the book, which direction to read the words, and how to turn pages. These skills aren’t innate, and different cultures read in different directions. We also teach children social skills like interaction and inflection, but when we consider what children learn from the simplest of books, it isn’t about social skills or tone. We are teaching them about their greater world.


By teaching objects, animals, and colors, we instill in children the most essential parts of our culture. We emphasize the objects and animals found in our regions or countries. Not every country has the same native animals, so we tend to emphasize those most often occurring in our immediate areas.

Exposes Children to a Variety of Sounds

When teaching animals or even vehicles, we tend to accompany those with the sounds they make. While you may feel that these sounds are just silly, they are actually made of phonemes which are essential to phonics reading development. No, your two-year-old is not going to begin using phonics and learning to read, but they will need to be able to make a variety of sounds later when learning to sound out words and learn new vocabulary. Additionally, many of these colors, objects, and animals are higher frequency words. While they may not make the top 100, cow, turkey, red, green, and car are often found in news stories and books your child may find interesting later. The better base they build, the easier they will find learning new skills and tasks. These simple words are a great way to begin.

Assists with Categorizing and Sorting

Sorting and categorizing are mathematical skills that are essential for geometry and algebra. Though your toddler will not be solving equations, the base for mathematical sorting begins as children. These books often separate objects by type. For instance, one book may cover transportation, while another is about farm animals. Farm animals and jungle animals are often featured in different texts as well. Reading these books helps children learn the similarities and differences that create these categories.

Builds Vocabulary

Vocabulary grows with reading at every age. Increased vocabulary can also increase speech development. Scholastic reminds parents not to worry too much about “baby talk” and that it can actually be an excellent way to start. However, avoid mashing your words to the point they are mispronounced. It’s okay to allow your child to say “Duck go quack,” rather than “A duck says quack,” but avoid “dutty wutty says quacky wacky.” No one talks like that. On the other hand, making silly sounds and singing songs like apples and bananas can help children learn to use more phonemes, as we have discussed.

Teaches Text to Picture Connection

Let’s face it—words do not look like what they represent. The word tree looks nothing like a tree, nor does the word door represent an actual door. Reading these simple naming books can help children make that text-to-object comparison. Chicken, floor, red, and pink have no meaning without context. These books give context to these words. When a child asks what something is, they are doing the same thing. Cup, couch, and car have no meaning without the word to item connection.


Some of the books about animals or objects are also textured. These books can help your child feel the difference in skin and fur or feathers without having to drive to the petting zoo. Any of our senses can be used to strengthen cognitive development. These textures can help children identify those categories mentioned above as well.

Compare and Contrast

When children are learning the sorting and categorization we discussed earlier, they are also looking at the similarities and differences in objects. Teaching these skills can be translated into science, math, and reading skills in the future. They can also be used in speech development to increase vocabulary and phonemic awareness. While the comparisons, in the beginning, are often this is red, that is blue, they will grow in complexity for writing assignments when they need to compare two events or types of items. At two, a cow is a cow, but in college, the type of cow may make a difference. Those comparison skills begin at an early age.

Wrapping Up

There are many skills that are improved simply by reading these categorization books. Colors, animals, and objects are all valuable just from the perspective that children need to learn the names of these things. Additionally, they can help children develop speech and cognitive skills that will flourish throughout their lives and education. It seems so small now, but it may be so much more important later.