Reading with Babies
Reading with your baby is a valuable way to spend precious time together. Although your new baby will not understand the words you read, your voice and your cuddling are exactly what they need. Begin sharing books with your baby as soon as you can safely hold the baby and the book at the same time. It is one of the most important things you can do to help your child learn the language.
- Hold the book so your child can see the pictures clearly.
- Let your baby explore soft cloth or board books. Babies learn by exploring with their mouth – sometimes, early reading looks like chewing.
- Point to objects in the book and name them. This is also known as “Point and Say.” Books for point and say should be very limited in text – one word per page is best.
- Change your voice as you read aloud and make the sounds of the animals that your baby sees.
- Ask your baby questions about what’s happening on the page, such as, “Where is the duck?” Pause, point and answer for baby, “Oh, look, there’s the duck!”
- Respond to your baby’s interest. Imitate his responses.
- Improvise! You don’t need to read the words as they appear in the book. You can just talk about the pictures.
- Relax and have fun! It’s OK if your baby crawls or moves away – she or he will still hear and benefit from your voice.
- What babies like in books:
- Pages with rounded edges (sharper edges may hurt your baby’s mouth)
- Board books with photos of babies
- Books with bold, clear pictures of familiar items in your baby’s world
- Books with rhythm and repetition
- Books with textures or touch-and-feel books
- Books with animal sounds
- Lullaby books