Reading success starts at birth. It is hard to believe when you bring your bundle of joy home that he is able to get much from a daily reading session but a lot happens when you sit down with your infant on your lap and read.
- It is incredible bonding time. We all love to hold babies! At such a young age reading is a great way to enhance the time you spend with your child. It doesn’t matter if you read the latest blog post on your phone to them or a board book you picked up at the library. The simple act of holding your child and them hearing your voice will create a warm and caring environment.
- It grows their brains. Brain development is exponential at this time. Every day it seems your child is learning a new skill. Babies are very visual creatures. By choosing books with simple pictures of every day objects a baby will be entertained while learning.
- It develops their language. Babies learn by hearing us speak. The more we read, speak and play with our child the more sounds they will hear and it will assist them as they begin to put sounds into words and learn to speak! Babies will watch how our mouths move and the sounds that follow. The whole process is a learning experience.
- It builds the words they know. Books open a world of language we don’t use every day. Whether it is a board book with shapes or a simple rhyming text the words are unique and will become a part of your child’s vocabulary. As your child ages and begins to explore reading he will have a large pool of words to choose from as he begins to sound out words and read.
- Reading becomes fun. When families make reading an important routine of the day kids will naturally gravitate to it as they get older. Having books in the car, at the restaurant, in their rooms or wherever they play will help build a strong relationship of reading. Show your child how much you love reading by taking time to read while they play! Don’t ever hide your reading habits from your child but encourage them to read by reading yourself.
There are a lot of great books for babies that will visually stimulate them and keep them engaged. When looking for a book to share with your child keep in mind:
- Babies love to see other babies. Look for books that have real pictures of babies. Books on emotions or self care are perfect starting books to share.
- Text should be simple. A few words on a page is great. It is natural for babies to only sit for short periods of time. As they mature they will be able to sit for longer stories.
- Young children are very concrete. Imagination explodes as a child ages. Babies, Toddlers and Young Preschoolers love books about family members, daily routines and the concrete world around them.
- Explore vocabulary through numbers, shapes and letters. They won’t be able to count to five or name the shape but seeing the numbers, shapes and letters on the page are building blocks for the years when they do begin to count, draw and read. Help them trace their finger over the shapes and their brain will remember.
- Board books are essential. The thick cardboard pages will allow a baby to flip through the book on her own. The cardboard can withstand some heavy teething and strong love babies show books! The sturdier the book they better it is for babies to explore.
- Babies love texture. Look for books with different textures. Soft, hard, scratchy, smooth. Their fingers help them learn as much as their eyes and ears do!