(AD) We have been kindly gifted the books, all thoughts and opinions are our own.
Reading with your baby.
It is never too early to start reading with your baby. The benefits of reading to young children are many. Reading to babies encourages development and offers a perfect time to bond and engage with your little one. Every time they turn pages, point to pictures, lift flaps, or even nibble or throw them, they add to their understanding of words and the world. Norah at 17 months loves her brothers picture books but still does not have the understanding or motor skill to not rip the pages.
There are hundreds of books in publication so how do you create the perfect starter library for under twos?
Never get bored of board books.
There are huge benefits to cardboard books. They are durable, affordable and build your babies listening skills. Look for books that have just a few pages and large, inviting illustrations or photos. This keeps baby engaged. Babies like looking at faces of people, familiar objects like balls and animals. Be sure create a collection of bright and age-appropriate books on your baby’s shelf or box and allow her to ‘play’ with them. Reading is not just for sitting quietly at bedtime but should also be about discovery, exploration and fun!
FIVE Tips for reading baby books and toddler books.
Get comfortable and avoid distractions i.e. turn off the TV.
Cuddle! Consider a good time- when she’s quiet but alert, and not hungry. At first, use your normal voice. It’s familiar and comforting to your baby. As they get older add expression and change your tone of voice to fit the dialogue. Do not feel awkward for acting silly while reading! Sometimes reading will be a passive activity, sometimes it will be a learning experience.
Point to and name pictures – a flower, a boy, a ball.
Babies learn by modelling and doing, so put their hand to the pictures and say the words to help build vocabulary. You can also later move your hand (and theirs) from left to right. Encourage older babies to turn pages. Boost verbal skills by asking questions about the pictures. Can you see the cat? What sound does a cat make?
Show the cover of the book. Ask toddlers what they think the story might be about.
Say yes to movement.
Don’t worry if your toddler wriggles as you’re reading. They may be moving, but they are also likely listening. If you find yourself getting frustrated remember you can keep stories short or read just a few pages at a time. Follow your baby’s lead and if they get tired or restless and try again later.
Read favourite stories and sing favourite songs over and over again.
Repeated engagement with books will strengthen language development and positive feelings about reading. Having a book in a night-time routine is also beneficial for babies.
Remember to take your child to the library regularly.
We are lucky enough to have a library in our town and walk there every other day to share a story, sing songs and just have fun around books.
FIVE of our favourite first books from words & pictures #review
To help you choose the best reads for babies choose books that introduce basic themes and invite conversation. We have fallen in love with the beautiful series of preschool books from words & pictures an imprint at Quarto International a leading global illustrated book publisher.
‘Bee’ and ‘Ladybird’.
New in the ‘Tales from Nature series’ babies can join familiar animals as they go about their day. A perfect introduction to nature and wildlife these books offer simple facts in a narrative format. The pages are bright, engaging and I like that the language is not oversimplified. The animal faces are friendly, and the books are all about interactive experience. The lift-the-flap features encourage hand eye coordination, object permanence and cause and effect. What happens next? There are five popular animal books to buy, Owl is next on our list!
An entertaining first concept book this features bright colours and bold shapes in humanised characters in an appealing, hands-on format. Reading pictures is how children begin to read text. Bath books are perfect for developing sensory awareness, bringing a play element to reading. Parents can be reassured with letting younger babies play with this squeezable foam filled book. It is easily wipeable and easily squeezed into a changing bag for on the go reading.
‘First Words’ and ‘Count 123’.
Counting, ABC and first word books place a primary emphasis on teaching your baby. Norah loved this peep through range. The books are sturdy, perfectly sized for tiny hands. Pointing through the gaps helps develop coordination and fine motor skills. The hard cover also makes the book chew proof. The illustrations are really appealing, and I like the pictures are slightly tactile. Use First Words to captivate your toddler and set them on the path to letter recognition. The large text format means that as children develop their own phonetic and reading skills these will also become the perfect first words books.
As your baby grows, you can tailor your book choices to match their interests. Aim to read at least a book a day.
You can help children gain an affinity for reading even more quickly by making sure that it comes from more than one place in their life. When looking at your childcare options, for instance, it might benefit you to choose an early education centre that includes reading as part of their service. That way you can make sure that your efforts at home are being replicated outside of it.