By: Katy Almendinger, GEPL Early Literacy Librarian
Reading to babies and young toddlers can be a really daunting task. It’s hard to keep up with the wiggles and their short attention spans. Reading to a baby might even seem silly, especially with books that don’t have much of a storyline.
But it’s so important to start reading to baby early. It’s even recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They say: “Reading regularly with young children stimulates optimal patterns of brain development and strengthens parent-child relationships at a critical time in child development, which, in turn, builds language, literacy, and social-emotional skills that last a lifetime.”
How do you find books for babies? Here are my top 5 tips and some of my favorite books for babies.
Books like Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett are great for babies because the text isn’t too complicated. Some board books read like catalogs instead of a story, with one image accompanied by brief text. This style also helps babies develop object recognition skills.
Animal lovers, this book is for you! John Butler’s books feature a soft color palette, sweet illustrations, and repetition. Repetition is boring for adults, but it’s great for babies! It enhances brain development and memory.
Books with textures and flaps, like most of Karen Katz’s books, are perfect for babies. Babies love to feel the different textures and discover what’s hiding under the flaps. The hands-on interaction can bring baby’s attention back to the book. These kinds of experiences can help babies learn how to turn pages and interact with a book.
At first, babies can only focus on things that are about 8-12 inches away from their face. It’s the distance between your face and baby’s while he’s being held. This might have something to do with why babies love looking at faces. There are plenty of books that feature photographs of faces. Global Babies is part of a series that showcases friendly faces from around the world.
Read whatever you’re reading! If it’s a New York Times Bestseller, a magazine, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, or the grocery list… read it out loud! Babies are still listening, even if they don’t show it, and they love to hear your voice.
Never To Young: Pediatricians Say Parents Should Read To Infants.
Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice