Taking the time to establish a daily routine of reading is one of the best things you can do with your infant. I wrote about here why you should read with your baby. In this post, I would like to share some reading tips and recommend some books for your baby.
Tips for reading with your baby
Babies prefer patterns and contrast, but loves faces. Solid colors do not pique the interest of a baby as much as patterns and bright contrast between design and background. But, what babies enjoy the most are pictures of faces.
Babies need repetition. Use books that repeat themselves. The more repetition, the better. By using books with repetition, your child will be excited to read because he or she knows what to expect.
Babies are interested in what is familiar. Babies are not very imaginative. Use books that talk about things they know, for example, food, family life, play, animals.
As your baby ages, your baby will become interested in an actual plot, not just the physical book. As I discussed in this post, please use books as physical play items. Buy some cheap used ones or purchase some of the ones I recommend below. Introduce and enjoy books together that have different textures and flaps to lift. Make sure to use board or cloth books that are difficult to tear and easy to flip through. Let your baby turn the pages of the books at leisure.
A word on library books: I do love the library and ask you to use the library. You can get your baby’s hands on so many different types of books without paying penny for them. But I know that some babies chew or tear a lot. I want your baby to have experiences with books without you having to have fines. Of course, we need to teach our children proper book handling manners, but babies will be babies. They explore. As your baby ages and sees how you handle books, he or she will learn. So make sure to have your own books at home.
Eventually your baby will begin to be interested in the actually story line of the book. At that point, you can try to share longer stories. But, remember that for the bulk of your baby’s first year, pictures of familiar items and of faces will generate the most interest and focus from your little one.
Keep it short, sweet and informal. In other words, go with the flow. If you sit down to share a book with your little one, and your little one shuts the book and throws it, it’s ok. Don’t get upset and give up. Try again later. If your child lets you read one or two pages, then shuts it to examine the book cover, use that opportunity to point out things on the cover and talk about it. Don’t worry that you aren’t actually “reading” a book. At this point of life, your baby just needs to know that books are fun. Besides, the language babies are acquiring come from the spoken words, not the written word babies view.
It doesn’t matter so much if your baby can’t sit still through a book reading (because he probably won’t for a loooooong time), even one with hardly any words. As your baby wanders and explores the room while you still read out-loud, your baby is hearing the words. And movement helps babies learn. So, your little one is hearing what you say, even if it doesn’t seem like it, and is learning. Don’t be discouraged, but keep sharing those books.
Keep books everywhere. The more accessible the books are, the more your baby will handle and get interested in the books. Intermix them with toys, carry some in your diaper bag, put them in the car…
Recommended Baby Books
Here are a few baby books that are golden. I either used them with my own son, or during story times with other babies.
I Went Walking by Sue Williams, illustrated by Julie Vivas
A simple story about what a child sees on a walk. The animal seen is hinted at before you turn the page.
Triangles by Yusuke Yonezu
What can a triangle be? Show your little one the possibilities.
Hello, Bugs! by Smriti Presadam-Halls, illustrated by Emily Bolam
A beautiful, bright, high contrast book of cute bugs.
Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora
Baby plays peek-a-boo with people and things around her house. You could even use this book and play peek-a-boo: simply cover your eyes and say “Peek-a-boo” when the book does.
Uh-oh! by Shutta Crum, illustrated by Patrice Barton
The only words in this book are “uh-oh!” but the pictures tell why what happened is an accident. Use this almost wordless book to point out and name objects and expressions.
Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
What sounds do animals really make? Read this book and show your baby which ones work for which animals.
Baby Bright by Samantha Meredith
A high contrast, shiny board book that points out different objects.
I Can Roar by Frank Asch
A fun, interactive board book! That silver circle on the cover of this book is not actually a mirror! It is a hole. You can put your face through the whole and pretend to be the animal’s face! You can put a large mirror in front of your baby and show him or her what he or she looks like as that animal. Fun!
Trains Go by Steve Light
Part of an amazing series. These long books go through different types of vehicles and the particular noises they make. This one talks about what noise each type of train makes. Great to help your baby mimic these sounds which help in language development.
Babies love faces! Show them babies from all over the world doing just what your baby does.
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett
One of the best books ever! The only words in this book are orange, pear, apple, and bear. See how Gravett draws this bear as an orange, as a pear, and in more clever ways.
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins
A super fun read aloud book! The pictures are small in this book, but it’s so fun to read I had to include it.
Old MacDonald’s Farm by IKids
My mother-in-law bought this for my son when he was little. It has dots that you press, and they pop. It’s a lot of fun. It is the traditional song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” counting down from 10 cows.
Cuddly Animals (DK Baby Touch and Feel)
DK Baby Touch and Feel is a series with a lot of different topics. This one we bought half-price in Denton, Texas at a store called Recycled Books. It was in perfect condition. They all use animals or objects and the baby can feel parts of them. These sensory books help them realize what word connects with what something feels like.
Make Van Gogh’s Bed by Julie Appel and Amy Gulielmo
Another touch and feel book. This one features classic art pieces. My son loved flipping through this on his own.
I Love You Through and Through by Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak, illustrated by Caroline Jayne Church
An excellent, sweet bedtime reminder to your baby: you love every part of him or her.
Black & White by Tana Hoban
Pictures of black images on white or white images on black. The contrast will help the images pop. There are no words so you can simply point to the images and talk about them.
I Kissed the Baby by Mary Murphy
A simple story about different animals interacting with a baby. Created with black images on white and white images on black, while the duckling is the only animal all in yellow.
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe: A Counting Nursery Rhyme by Salina Yoon
The classic nursery rhyme done up with beautiful, bright and bold images from the awesome Saline Yoon.
A Kiss Means I Love You by Katherine Madeline Allen and Eric Futran
This one is the board book format, but there is a hardcover, full sized one. I love this book because of all the photos that show babies different faces and actions.
What books do you share with your little one?