Published August 24, 2010 by
Every parent wants their child to love reading. One way to instill a love of reading into your child is to start reading to her when she is very young. Newborns (and even babies before birth) can recognize the sound of their parents’ voices and distinguish them from all others, so it’s never too early to start reading to your baby. Start early and read often.
It really doesn’t matter what you read. A baby will not be able to tell the difference between Little Red Riding Hood and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. As a result, it’s a good idea to pick a children’s book that you loved as a child or just one that looks fun to you. If you're stumped, here is a list of the best 100 childrens books from 1999. It may be old, but they were (and still are) great books for kids.
Newborns cannot see well at first and slowly will start to recognize red, white and black. That’s why most baby books feature large shapes in those colors, but your baby will love anything you read to her. It’s more about spending time with her than about the story at this point.
There are many places to find great books that your baby will love well past their infant years. I've noticed that books that feature a song throughout the book become baby favorites. Some examples of these include The Wheels on The Bus, I'll Love You Forever, Baby Beluga, and more. You can always purchase baby book gift baskets for your baby or for a friend that are sure to make for good reading. They make great gifts and the books will always get used for years to come.
Create a cozy reading area that has a comfy chair, good lighting and an undisturbed atmosphere. If older children are running through the house with their friends, select a spot off in a corner and out of the rush of things. This is your time with baby. Choose a time to read when you are both happy and relaxed. If you are stressed out, reading to baby will help calm you down. Start by cuddling baby up in your lap. Make sure she’s had her diaper changed and is well-fed. That will make her more attentive, and then more likely to fall into happy sleep afterwards. Cuddle baby under a soft blanket and rest her head in the crook of your arm or on a pillow.
Once you are both comfortable, start reading. Baby will recognize your voice and listen to you attentively, often making adorable faces as she tries to decipher just what you are saying. She’ll coo and make noises to tell you in her own way that she likes this time with you. It’s some of the most precious time you will ever have with your baby.
As baby gets a little older, she will want to chew on anything that she can get her hands on. So, offer her sturdy board books that are designed to withstand that kind of abuse. Let her play with the book. You’re instilling a love of holding books and telling her that reading is a pleasurable activity. So, even if she pulls the book out of your hand or flips pages while you’re mid-sentence, just let her. She’s exploring her world. Choose books that are short and simple enough that you won’t mind rereading them. When she gets slightly older, she’ll want to hear the same story over and over again. There’s something comforting to small children about hearing familiar words and looking at familiar pictures.
Start a library full of kids books for your child as early as you can. Showing your child that books have an important place in your house will help make her a life-long reader. Baby Einstein books are also great for developing babies. Take short trips to the local library or bookstore and read to her there. She’ll start associating reading with happy times with mom or dad. It’s never too early and never too late to start reading to your child. And if you know a child who is short on books, donating your gently loved books is a good way to help another child fall in love with reading.
Benefits of Reading to Your Baby