Reading With Your Baby
Congratulations on receiving our special edition of the wooden book, the fruit book! Reading to your baby is a time for bonding and fun when your child creates a positive association with books. Research shows that reading boosts language skills and provides benefits that extend through your child’s entire education. The earlier reading starts at home, the greater the rewards. Here are some tips for making storytime “fruitful” and fostering a love of reading in your baby from birth:
Introducing the Fruit Book
When you snuggle up with your new Fruit Book, here are some examples of phrases you can use to present each fruit to your baby:
- “This is a banana! What color is the banana? The banana is yellow…”
- “This is a strawberry! Can you see the stem? It’s here. The stem is green.”
- “This is an orange! Do you like to eat oranges?”
- “This is a pineapple. Can you see the stem? The leaves are tough!
- Infants learn best when their books feature one realistic image per page. Books with no written words are a powerful language tool and help you to model active engagement with a book.
- Keep a basket of books and rotate. Choose a few books for your child to choose from and display them in a basket at his eye level, like on a low shelf. Rotate the books every couple of weeks, just like your child’s toys, to keep things interesting. Once your child starts walking, you can start using a bookshelf at his eye level.
- Embrace repetitive reading. Children often request that same book be read to them again and again, and this repetition actually helps develop literacy. Repetition is favored by children because of the comfort, confidence, phonemic awareness, and expanding vocabulary that comes with it.
- Incorporate reading into your bedtime routine. Ending the day with a favorite book establishes a nice routine and sense of security with which to end the day. Reading the same book each night at bedtime signals the end of the day, gives children a sense of security, and helps them begin to connect the spoken with the written words.
- Encourage exploration with the eyes and hands. When you finish reading, offer your child a turn to explore the book. It is normal at this stage for babies to want to explore everything with their mouths. If your little one starts teething on the book, it’s best to offer a teething toy so he learns that books are for reading and looking, and not for teeth!
- Promote sensorial learning. Children learn through their senses, and reading is an opportunity to engage with all of them. Your child listens to your words, watches your lips produce them, notices your facial expressions, engages with the contents of the book, and feels the warmth of reading with you. All of these moments create the magical experience of storytime.
- When you come to the end, choose a phrase like “We finished reading! or The End.” and repeat this at the end of every book. Your child will soon recognize this as a signal that storytime is done. If she’s still interested, you can read it again.