It's never too early to start nurturing a lifelong love of reading. Getting babies hooked on books right from the start is a wonderful seed that you can plant and watch grow throughout your child's life. So begin reading early on and often. Not only does reading books to your baby promote language skills and vocabulary development, but you'll find that it is an extremely enjoyable experience you're both sure to treasure.
You can start as soon as you'd like. Some children are read to while still in the womb, while others are merely a few weeks old, and others a few months old. There are no rules regarding when to first start reading to your child. You decide what makes you comfortable. At first, reading to an infant or baby may seem absolutely ridiculous. They have difficulty keeping focused on the book for any period of time and simply don't seem to be getting anything out of it. Especially in the beginning, it may be necessary to read for only a minute or two and gradually increase the length of time each day or week. Try, if possible, to set up a daily reading routine. Introduce reading throughout the day, whether during a quiet playtime, before a naptime or whenever possible. Hang in there, be patient and you'll be surprised at how they will soon recognize and respond to favorite images over a period of time, and when they do, you'll start to enjoy the fruits of your labors.
Remember that it's quality not quantity when it comes to purchasing baby books and developing a home library. Since young children thrive on repetition, you'll find that a few well chosen books will do. Without a doubt, your child will request the same books over and over again. Children really enjoy the predictability of hearing the same story, and the constant story repetition strengthens comprehension.
Most importantly, once you have built up your library, make it easily accessible to your child. The best type of books are books that look like they've been through the wringer. You can bet that they've been looked at over and over again. Books on a high shelf stay very neat, but are not likely to be looked at as often as books that are next to the toy bins.
The perfect choice for budding readers are board books. They are very sturdy and are the right size for little hands to hold and
turn pages. Board books are reasonably priced and are the perfect diaper bag companion for fussy babies. Get your baby's attention and keep it with books that contain vibrant colors and lots of interesting contrasts. Although we tend to associate pastels and light coloring for baby books and toys, it seems that they would prefer bright and cheery primary colors and bold boundaries.
Stick to topics that are relevant and popular. Toddlers enjoy recognition of everyday things such as pets, familiar foods, toys etc. Animal books are always a big hit especially when Mommy or Daddy make silly animal sounds to accompany them. Topics you may wish to expose your toddler to are: Animals, ABCs, Numbers, Colors, Shapes, Foods, Opposites and Baby Routines (bathing, sleeping, dressing, potty)
You can increase your child's vocabulary by selecting simple one word per page books. Think of it as a picture dictionary. Usually a word and accompanying picture or illustration will do the trick. Simple is best and very effective. Also, try to include board books made up of actual photos of items. Drawings and cartoons are also fine but are less realistic. If possible try to stick with books that portray things as they would appear in real life. For example, pigs driving cars or elephants eating at the kitchen table are enjoyable, but can cause some misinterpretations.
Involve your little one with Lift a Flap and Pop Up books. Children love to be surprised by what's behind a door or by making things move by pulling tabs. Not only do these books capture children's interest, but they also help them practice their dexterity as well. Stick to books that are age and skill appropriate so that the lifting and pulling of tabs does not become a frustrating experience for little fingers. Also make sure to choose sturdy board book flaps and tabs to prolong the life of the book, although you can expect to have some rips and tears here and there even with the sturdiest of books. They are sure to be a favorite!
Try having fun with rhymes. Babies and toddlers enjoy the predictability and song like appeal of rhyming books. These type of books encourage participation and repetition because rhymes are easy to remember and recite.
Lastly, enjoy the time spent together with our baby while you cuddle up and read, read, read!!!
Baby Einstein (series)
Hey Diddle Diddle (My First Taggies Book)(Rhyming series)
Green Eggs & Ham (Nifty Lift-and-Look)(Dr. Seuss, series)
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