Monday, August 2, 2010

10 Tips on Reading to Baby

In the first few months of life, an infant's brain organizes itself based on the child's language experiences. If a child is not exposed to quality language, these connections become harder and harder to make as the child grows older. The TYPE of language that children hear is also important. If adults are talking amongst each other or merely giving the infant brief and irrelevant language exchanges, then language development is unlikely to flourish. Reading to infants can be an easy task, if you know just what to do.
  1. Get cozy. Snuggle on a sofa, on the floor, in a rocking chair...wherever you and baby are comfy.
  2. Choose books carefully. These tips for choosing preschool books can be applied to books for babies too!
  3. Choose books that babies can manipulate safely - board books and books made of cloth or vinyl are baby-friendly.
  4. Read with expression. No one, not even a baby, wants to hear a monotone! For example, when you read Baby Faces make faces that mirror the words "yucky" and "uh-oh." Change the tone of your voice to match the text and/or illustrations.
  5. Pause in-between pages and give Baby time to look at the images.
  6. Point to and describe pictures in the book.
  7. Pay attention to your baby's cues.If a baby is looking at a page for a while, don't be so quick to turn the page. Let him/her take it all in. On the other hand, if a baby shows no interest in a particular book, don't push it. Try another book or activity.
  8. Keep books where babies can reach them. If you keep all of your baby's books out of reach, how will they ever "tell" you that they want to read? How will you know which books are your baby's favorites? How will they learn to make choices based on their own preferences?
  9. Re-read often. Babies learn from repetition, so it is OK, even preferred, if you read a few favorites over and over again!
  10. Read every day.

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  1. I've been enjoying these posts about reading to baby. Thanks.

  2. Wonderful advice! I especially like the tip: reading with expression. It's hard to believe someone can make Jamberry boring. But I've heard it done before!

    Daddy is busy reading bedtime stories to our children as I read this post. He even reads with great voices (and he's the silent type). :)

  3. These are great tips!

    We used most, if not all, of these with our twins (who are now 2 1/2) and now with our 7-month old baby girl -- and while it's still a bit early for us to know for certain with baby girl, we do have two very avid readers in the twins (a boy and a girl).

    We also try to maintain a very print-rich home -- we have books EVERYWHERE -- in the twins rooms, the nursery, the playroom, the living/dining room, and even our office/study (yes, there is a shelf there with kids books too)... We even keep a few of the soft infant books in the baby girl's pack-n-play so she can "read" on her own while she's playing.

    While we try to read daily with all three children, I think the cutest thing is when the twins "read" to baby girl.

    So far I think we've been successful in fostering a love of reading in our home.

  4. Jeannine - That is sooo cute. And you bring up an important's beneficial for kids - especially boys - to see dads (or other male role models) reading. Dads who read to their kids ROCK!

  5. Marcia - I'm glad you've enjoyed the posts. I started writing one post and the ideas kept flowing!

  6. Stephanie - That is GREAT! I love hearing those kinds of stories. When I taught kindergarten, I also had books all over the classroom - even in the block and art areas. And I LOVED when the children pretended to be the teacher and would "read" to the class ;).

    Your family sounds like it's on the right path towards raising readers!



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