Babies are enchanted by the sound of the human voice, the feeling of being held close and seeing new and interesting things. So, it’s no surprise that babies love to be read to! The more a baby is exposed to books in the first few months of life, the more likely they are to enjoy reading as they grow. Listed below are some great literacy tips for families of infants as they begin their journey into the world of children’s literature.
- Get cozy
In the beginning, reading is all about the ambiance. Get a soft warm blanket, find a quiet place, grab a big stack of books and let the snuggle time begin! Soon, you and your baby will begin to see book time as cuddle time.
2. Newborns aren’t picky
Exposure to spoken language helps develop connections in the brain that lay the foundation for reading. This means that for the first few months, your reading selections are for quantity, not content. Before dedicating the next five years to Curious George, Pete the Cat, and Pinkalicious, finish that hot new romance series, visit Hogwarts one more time or—for you students out there—read aloud from your bio-chem textbook! Listening to your voice will soothe your infant and can help to bridge the 30 million word gap.
3. Begin with board books
Once those little hands start grabbing, it’s time to break out the board books. These books are made of cardboard, so there’s less chance of ripped pages and damage whenever they inevitably end up being chewed on. Board books are specifically designed with babies in mind, so they’re short, colorful and sure to be full of fun baby-friendly stories. Infants especially enjoy stories with pictures of other babies’ faces, animal sounds, high contrast and a variety of textures. Here’s a list of some of our favorite books for little ones!
4. Slow and steady wins the race
Let your baby direct your story times; they’ll let you know when it’s time to move on. If your baby makes it thirty minutes and you read every book on the book shelf—wow, congratulations! If your baby makes it three minutes and you finished half of one book—wow, congratulations! The goal is to make reading a part of your daily routine, and even us adults have days where we just can’t focus. The more you read, the longer your child’s attention span will become. This skill that will help them succeed in school and life.
Whether 2 days old, 2 months old or 2 years old, there’s no time like the present to start reading to your baby!