Reading to your baby

Even before your baby says their first word, he or she is learning about language through sounds, the combination of sounds, vocabulary, tempo and the rhythm of words and phrases. By the time your child is six years old, about 95% of his or her brain is formed.

Children who are read to, told stories, interacted with, and who visit the library may be better prepared to learn when they start school.

How does Welia support early literacy?

Welia Health has partnered with Reach Out & Read® Minnesota, an organization that builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers, to develop critical early reading skills in children by incorporating books into wellness visits and encouraging families to read aloud together. Reach Out & Read is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

How can wellness exams support healthy brain development?

When our Family Medicine providers perform child wellness visits (well child checks), a book is just as important as a stethoscope or tongue depressor. Books can be used as tools to quickly give input to some developmental staging in children but also to encourage parents to read aloud, giving them a simple, practical way of spending time and engaging in conversation with their young children. These parent-child interactions during the early years support healthy brain development that forms the base for success later at school and in life.

Wellness exams and books

At Welia Health, during your child’s wellness exam, they will receive a brand new, age-appropriate book to bring home and keep. We know the importance of a well-developed vocabulary and that it is a building block for children to become successful readers. By the time your child reaches age five, he or she should have a library of 11 new books.

  • Newborn well-baby visit
  • 2-week well-child visit
  • 2-month well-child visit
  • 4-month well-child visit
  • 6-month well-child visit
  • 12-month well-child visit
  • 15-month well-child visit
  • 18-month well-child visit
  • 2-year well-child visit
  • 3-year well-child visit
  • 4-year well-child visit
  • 5-year well-child visit

In addition, each February during I Love to Read Month, Welia gives away books to kids aged ten and under to promote early literacy.

Why is reading so important?

Reading aloud to children has been called the single most important activity for building the knowledge needed for reading success. It helps your child learn new words, learn about the world, learn written language and learn the connection between spoken and written words.

Because you are your child’s first and most important teacher, the best time to begin reading to your child is when he or she is an infant. Babies learn about spoken language when they hear family members talking, laughing and singing. They also learn about the written language when they hear stories and see family members reading. Numerous studies demonstrate the importance of developing vocabulary in learning.

Where can I learn more?


At Welia Health, we want to do our part to help to increase literacy rates within our communities. For more information, call Welia Health’s Reach Out & Read coordinator at 320.225.3586.