Published on October 4th, 2014 | by Bright Kids Books0
Ten tips for reading to babies
These ten tips for reading to babies offer some great ways you can help your child develop a love of reading.
You might be wondering: how soon should I start reading to my baby? To answer, consider this: As soon as your baby is born, he or she starts learning. Just by talking to, playing with, and caring for your baby every day, you help your baby develop their language skills. Reading to your baby adds a further layer to this learning. Best of all, reading to babies helps foster a love of books and reading right from the start. So the answer is: it’s never too early to read to your baby. The sooner the better, and here’s some great tips to get you started.
Ten tips for reading to babies
1. Snuggle up with a book
When you hold your baby close and look at a book together, your baby will enjoy the snuggling and hearing your voice as well as the story. Feeling safe and secure with you while looking at a book helps build your baby’s sense of security, confidence and love of reading. Not to mention it’s a great ritual for you too!
2. Choose baby-friendly books
Books with bright and bold or high-contrast illustrations are easier for young babies to see, and will grab their attention more. Books made from different textures are also more interesting to babies – cloth, soft plastic (for the bathtub) or “board books” with sturdy cardboard pages are also easier for a baby to handle. And harder to eat!
3. Keep books where your baby can reach them
Make sure books are as easy to reach, hold, and look at as the toys. Remember, a baby will do with a book what they does with everything else – put it in their mouth. And that’s exactly what babies are supposed to do, so early on, you may only want to put chewable books within reach.
4. Talk with your baby — all day long
Describe the what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Commentate on the weather, or the fruit you are choosing at the grocery. Talk about the pictures in a book or things you see while walking, or driving in the car. Ask questions. By listening, your baby learns words, develops ideas, and begins to understand how language works.
5. Encourage your baby’s coos, growls, and gurgles
These sounds are your baby’s way of communicating with you – and are important first steps toward speech. Encourage attempts to mimic you. The more your baby practices making sounds, the clearer they will become. Go ahead and moo, woof and honk! It can also be extremely rewarding for parents to mimic their baby. That way the communication is two-way – the very habits you’re trying to encourage.
6. Give baby a hand!
Encourage your baby to touch the book, to follow the instructions touch noses and toes, point to pictures and make the animal noises as the animals appear on the pages. The muscles in those little hands will soon grow strong, agile, and ready to turn pages. And best of all, actively interacting makes reading much more fun for babies.
7. Develop a daily routine (and make reading a key part of it)
Routines can soothe a baby, and let a baby learn to predict what will happen next. The ability to predict is important to babies and infants. That’s why you’ll soon enough find yourself reading the same book over a over again. A baby finds comfort in knowing what’s about to happen next.
8. Sing, Read, Repeat
Read favorite stories and sing favorite songs over and over again. Repeated fun with books will strengthen language development and positive feelings about reading. With this in mind, we suggest you build up a catalogue of children’s books that both you and your baby love to read!
9. “Read” your baby
Pay attention to how your baby reacts to the book you are reading. Stop if your baby isn’t enjoying the story and try another book or another time. Also remember, that depending on the circumstances that your babies attention span will vary. Some session will be wonderful, while others will be a challenge. No matter, put the book down and start afresh tomorrow.
10. Enthusiasm is your best friend
As a new parent, you’re constantly worn down and often struggling to get enough sleep. At times like this it’s important to remember that your child will not be a baby forever. They growing at a exponential rate and learning new things constantly. There will come a time in the not too distant future when you will (hopefully) look back on this period with fondness. When your little one was small enough – and happy enough – to sit quietly on your lap and be engrossed with the book you’re reading to them. Embrace this moment and channel your inner actor. Be as silly and creative as you can be. Taking the time to regularly read to your child and be enthusiastic is one of the ways we show our children how much we love them. Enjoy!