Why do it?

  • It’s an opportunity for baby to hear and become familiar with their parents’ voices and the languages they speak.
  • Baby is beginning to ‘wire up’ for the language that’s used in their family home.
  • It’s an opportunity to develop a way to soothe baby when it needs help settling after birth.

How to do it

  • Choose something to read that you enjoy, as it’s likely you’ll be reading it many times.
  • If baby has an older sibling, one of their favourite picture books would be a good choice to read to baby. It could be read together — or maybe the sibling could read it to baby themselves?
  • Baby’s ears are filled with amniotic fluid, so they hear as if they’re under water. Reading in ‘parentese’ will help baby to hear the story from the womb.
  • Parentese is a way of talking — use a higher pitch, speak more slowly and exaggerate vowel sounds.

Using more reo Māori

Te reo Māori English
Talk, communicate
Pānui pukapuka Read book
Older sibling/cousin of the same gender
Brother of a girl
Sister of a boy
Joy, happiness, euphoria
To soothe
Hangaia he pukapuka Make a book
Whakahuri te whārangi Turn the page