Why Read to Babies?

a man reading a board book to his babyBabies learn a lot from us beginning the second they are born. Just from our daily routine, they are discovering new shapes, finding out what things feel like and understanding what different sounds mean. Sharing books with babies lets them explore beyond what they see every day at your house or grandma’s. They may see a whale, hear a monkey or touch a bunny’s tail!

“There is nothing better than a baby hearing your voice talking, singing and reading. Books are a great, fun way to bond with babies and begin building an infant’s literacy skills, even at this young age,” says Sarah Howard, youth and community services manager at the Daniel Boone Regional Library.

Book List for Babies

One of our librarians, who is also a new mom, has shared a book list of her baby’s favorites. You can check these titles out at the library.

Baby Sees Colors by Akio Kashiwara
(high contrast colors and patterns)

Baby Sees First Colors by Akio Kashiwara
(high contrast, black, white and red)

Big Dog and Little Dog series by Dav Pilkey
(hilarious and fun for parent)

Hello, Garden Bugs by Julissa Mora
(high contrast black & white)

Hello Sea by Carolyn Scrace
(high contrast black & white and mirror)

Moimoi, Look at Me by Jun Ichihara
(high contrast)

P Is for Puppy by Ellie Boultwood
(touch and feel, all plush fur!)

You’re My Little Baby by Eric Carle
(mirror, touch and feel, flaps, sweet sentiment for parent)

Fun Fact

New little humans learn all of the sounds they need to understand their native language by their first birthday.

(Source: KidsHealth.org)

Benefits of reading to your baby

Developing language: They hear more sounds that they may try to copy.

Building vocabulary: You introduce a greater number of words, many of which you wouldn’t say in day-to-day conversation, like “lighthouse” or “throne.”

Developing social and emotional skills: They begin to understand different emotions when they hear the emotion in your voice or on your face as you read the book.

What to read to your baby

Choose books made of cloth, soft plastic or a board book so it’s easy for them to handle (and, yes, chew).

Select titles with bright, bold and/or high-contrast pictures so it’s easier for their developing eyes to see. Babies like to see faces and different patterns.

Pick stories that are simple and repetitive. Babies respond well to singsong or rhyming text.

Share books with mirrors, different textures, fold-out pages and flaps that babies can explore.

Making reading fun for your baby

Repeat. Little ones love to read the same book over and over.

Skip pages. Babies may randomly flip pages back and forth. It’s okay not to read a book cover to cover. You can point to the pictures and describe what you see instead of reading the story.

Read anywhere. Even if your child isn’t sitting quietly on your lap during story time, they still benefit from hearing you read.

Store baby-friendly books at kid-level so little hands can grab one to play with whenever they want.

“It’s never too early or too late to begin reading to a child,” says Howard. “Add it to your daily routine and share a book every day. Before naptime or bedtime are good times to read, and it will help soothe your child to sleep.”