Raise A Reader: A Parent Guide To Reading For Ages 0
Books and Your Baby
Its 20 minutes before bedtime, and youve decided to start a bedtime reading routine with your 6-month-old baby. As you turn the pages of a sturdy board book, your baby seems so interested! She is grunting and grabbing at the book. You let her hold the book herself, and she babbles excitedly.
Wow, you think. My baby loves reading!
Then, she brings the book up to her face… and sticks it in her mouth for an after-dinner snack. Babies do enjoy books for more than just a snack.
- Most Babies Will: Enjoy tactile books with flaps, mirrors, textures, and sounds.
- Some Babies Will: Enjoy simple board books with action language, and recall pictures, sounds, and phrases from their favorite books.
- Some Babies Might Even: Enjoy longer picture books with a simple plot especially if the plot has a pattern of repetition.
Find out what kinds of books suit your baby based on her age.
Birth to 9 MonthsReading to a baby can be hilarious and its also bound to be frustrating for any linear-thinking adult. Many parents dont see the value in reading to children this young. In a 2008 survey commissioned by Scholastic*, only 48 percent of parents reported reading to their child when the child was less than 1 year old. An additional 17 percent read to their children before they turned 2, and another 15 percent began reading before their children turned three.
Reading Activities for Ages 0-2
Try these activities to get your baby started on a journey to literacy.
What Are The Best Books To Read To Infants
A few years ago, the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending that parents integrate storytime with their babies at infancy. Although infants won’t understand what you’re reading to them, they’ll love being held by you and will respond to emotion in your voice so any baby book that lets you read in an engaging way is a great choice.
Reading: Ages And Stages
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Here are some general guidelines for what types of books are a good fit from birth to 3, along with some cant-miss parent tips for book-sharing in the early years. Letting your child love books in the ways he knows how at each age fosters literacy skills from birth to 3, and beyond!
Finally, remember that telling your child a story can happen any time. Give it a try during mealtimes, diaper changes, driving to child care, and right before bed when you tell the story of your childs day. Each of these moments creates an opportunity to build a deeper connection with your child and to build her language and literacy skills, too!
About Baby Steps
This article was featured in Baby Steps, a ZERO TO THREE newsletter for parents and caregivers. Each issue offers science-based information on a topic of interest to parents and caregivers of young childrenfrom sleep to challenging behaviors, and everything in between.
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How To Read To Your Little One
When should you start reading to your baby? According to Dr. Klein, its never too early, and its never too late. She adds that while sooner is usually better, young children can still benefit from being read to at any age.
Dr. Klein shares some tips to make reading fun and effective.
Make it daily
Read to your kiddo for at least a few minutes each day. Try to get in as much reading as you can, Dr. Klein says, whether its one longer bedtime book session or shorter reading breaks throughout the day.
Babies might only be interested for a few minutes. As they get older, their attention span can start to handle longer stories.
Follow their lead
Your tot wants to turn back to look at the first page again and again? Just roll with it. Let your little one point out the pictures they like on the page or talk about what you see, even if it means you wont get around to finishing the story. Once your child is old enough, let them choose the books you read.
Dont expect perfection
Once your baby starts crawling and toddling, it can be challenging to get them to sit still. But even if theyre scooting around the room, your child will still benefit from hearing you read aloud.
Dont get frustrated if your baby isnt sitting quietly in your lap for storytime, Dr. Klein says. Reading doesnt have to be this perfect quiet moment where everyone is paying attention.
Let them explore
Pick the right books
Talk about it
Get ready to repeat yourself
Keep it going
Keep The New Books Coming In
Let your child build a personal collection. Children love collecting. Make your childs book collection a point of personal pride and identity. Every child should have a special bookcase. Plan for long-term storage for the best of this collection. When your children reach adulthood and discover that you still have the books that meant so much to them in childhood, they will appreciate it.
Books are for giving. Not every book your child owns is bound for the permanent collection. Keep a regular conversation going about which books your child is ready to hand down to younger siblings, cousins or friends. Its also great to pass some on to shelters, doctors offices, schools, charity sales or local libraries.
Consider a birthday-party book swap. When your child is at the picture-book stage, ask guests to bring a wrapped book instead of gifts, and have everyone choose one on the way out. Its nicer than goody bags filled with candy or plastic toys, and teaches children that books are special.With older children, have guests bring an unwrapped book, and have them choose from the pile. Determine the order by pulling numbers from a hat, or through a contest or game.
Local libraries are indispensable resources. They often offer:
- Storytelling hours
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Reading To Premature Babies: The Research
In 2010, a study in Montreal in Canada compared two groups of parents of premature babies:
- parents who had been encouraged to read to their babies in the NICU
- parents whose babies had been discharged from the NICU before the reading program was introduced
They wanted to find out whether the reading program had made any difference to the parents’ experience while their babies were in the NICU or to the amount of reading the parents did with their babies once the babies were taken home. To put it another way, they wanted to know two things: first, what might be the immediate and short-term benefits of reading to premature babies and second, are there any longer-term benefits to reading aloud to the babies which might show up when the children started school, for example.
And the results? The study clearly showed that encouraging parents to read to their sick and premature babies in the NICU/SCBU:
- allowed parents to engage with their babies in a positive way
- helped parents cope with the difficult experience of having a sick baby
- meant that the parents were far more likely to continue reading aloud to their babies in the months after the babies were discharged
Were Big Readers At Our House But Still This Is A Major Wakeup Call For Us
We read several books aloud with Griffin every night before bedtime. But our squirrely seven-month old Paloma? Not so much. But thats about to changeboth because of this study, and because shes just getting old enough to engage with a book.
So its time to dust off some of our best baby books, including the titles listed below.
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This is a short board book that is perfect for helping your newborn develop their eyesight. My littlest gets very excited when he sees this book. Its also a very quick read, which is perfect for babies 0-3 months of age.
Indestructibles Books have to be the coolest books for babies. These baby-proof books cant be ripped and can withstand even the largest puddles of drool. If they get dirty, they can be thrown in the wash! While there are plenty of Indestructibles to choose from, I like the Baby Faces book because babies love looking at faces and in theory, this helps build empathy . These books are short and sweet and perfect for babies 6 months of age or less, though my toddler still likes to look at them every now and then.
Written by one of our favorite authors, Ten Tiny Toes is a sweet ode to your baby that teaches the body parts. As always, Churchs illustrations are adorable and the rhyming text is short, sweet, and perfectly written.
Any list of the best baby books would be incomplete without When the World Was Waiting For You. This is the first baby book that I bought for my oldest, and we both still love reading it three years later. This sweet, loving story tells your baby about what it was like before they were born: the excitement in the air and the eager anticipation of their arrival. This is one of my go-to baby shower gifts and a must for every babys library.
Books To Read To Your Unborn Baby
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Reading aloud to your baby in the womb is an amazing way of bonding between you, your baby, and your husband. But, sometimes, reading aloud can be downright awkward. These 9 books to read to your unborn baby will ease the awkwardness and kickstart some loving family memories!
During the first trimester of my pregnancy, I found myself reading to my baby whatever books I was reading.
Soon, they started to seem inappropriate. I decided to expand my library with a few titles intended to read during pregnancy, and I never looked back.
Choosing the right books to read to your unborn baby is a defining step in the quality time you will spend with your family.
Reading is also a fun, stimulating, and easy way to get others involved with your pregnancy.
Having my husband read to our baby before we chose these books was nearly impossible! But, after he heard me reading baby books he was much more into it and soon was reading to our baby in the womb on a daily basis.
Without further ado, here are my top 9 books to read to your unborn baby.
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This is one of those books I think even people who have no intention of having kids *ever* would still enjoy and learn so much from. Its beautifully written and so engaging, and the author has, obviously, a real passion for thinking about how we define childhood and what our expectations are of kids. She suggests so many things that might seem obvious like considering a behavior and whether or not its age appropriate to the specific child, and I feel like so many parents just dont have the time to consider that until its laid out for them clearly. Brynn, mother of a 1-year-old
What Is The Best Way To Read To Babies
Of course, reading aloud to an infant is different than reading aloud to a preschooler. With a baby, you may not get through the whole book. Your baby may want to hold the book and chew on it or try turning pages. All of these actions are appropriate and help your child become familiar with books and how to handle them. Here are some tips to follow when reading to your baby.
- Make reading together a close cuddly time. Reading before bed may be the perfect time to hold your baby on your lap and cuddle together while you read.
- Don’t worry about reading a book start to finish. It is great if you can, but if your child wants to stop and hold or chew on the book, that is okay. That is another way infants take in information about their world.
- Point out and name pictures. Later ask your baby to find the “cow,” “horse,” etc., when you point to it.
- Increase the length and complexity of books as your child shows interest. By about one year of age, some babies will enjoy hearing a short book with a storyline.
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What To Look For
Forever friends, complex plot. Remember Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins, Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown, Fern, Charlotte and Stuart Little? Chapter books are where your child meets characters who will be important friends they will play big, ongoing roles in a readers life as he or she grows into a more independent, self-sufficient person. In these books, children also begin to follow longer, twistier stories, to enter into enchanting and breathtaking literary fantasy worlds with their own rules and logic, and to discover stories that will help them work through the many changes they are experiencing in their world and in themselves.
Visual interest still matters. If your child is shying away from or struggling to read chapter books, seek out the more visual ones, with at least one illustration on each page. Books from The 13-Story Treehouse series or The Notebook of Doom series do the trick. These books are often unjustly dismissed as too easy or cartoonish, but you should ignore that prejudice. The best of these heavily illustrated early chapter books are brilliant!
Reading Material For Parents
When youre not reading to baby, you might like the following titles for your own benefit:
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The Best Pregnancy Books for Natural Mamas: Looking for the best pregnancy books out there? Look no further! Heres the shortlist of the very best natural and holistic pregnancy books available.
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Ma Theres Nothing To Do Here A Word From Your Baby
I bet youre already smiling! You can guess what this book its about.
And yes. Its super sweet and hilarious!
The story of a baby who is super bored in his moms womb. Theres nothing to do but pull on her bungee cord, after all, there are No puppies. No toys. No girlszero boys. Not a sandbox or swingsOr those monkey bar things. Not a park or a zoo.
Pro Tip: This is a great book for older siblings to read aloud, too! Or for you to read them to your unborn child and your older sibling for bolding time!