your child to books. Although infants will be unable to follow a plot or understand a
theme, infants will benefit from exposure to books. In addition to the bonding that is
inevitable when you hold your baby in your lap and communicate with her, reading to your
baby is valuable in the development of language skills. Long before your baby utters her
first word, she is absorbing sounds that will first help contribute to the development of
speech, and later reading. Books also stimulate your baby’s imagination, helping her
to make sense of situations she has experienced and introducing her to new ones.
Reading to your infant today promotes
good reading habits tomorrow. There is a difference in the attention spans of children who
have been read to regularly, says Bernice Cullinan, Professor of Early Childhood and
Elementary Education at New York University and a highly acclaimed reading specialist. Dr.
Cullinan is the author of Read to Me:
Raising Kids Who Love to Read and Invitation to Read.
As infants are particularly responsive to
the sounds of language, the best books for babies emphasize rhythm, melody, and
repetition, such as nursery rhymes and books with patterned language. Rhythm, rhyme,
repetition and familiar language sequences will captivate babies. Books for infants
usually have minimal text; the words often function like labels or captions for the
pictures. Infants enjoy looking at pictures of other people, especially other babies. They
recognize facial features and expressions. Babies and small children love seeing familiar
objects like a stuffed bear or a rubber duck, or people doing things that they have had
some experience with in their daily experience, such as getting dressed or taking bath.
Infants see books as toys. They will
explore books the same way they explore everything else in their worlds: by grabbing,
tossing, turning them upside down and putting the books in their mouths. For these
reasons, small durable board books, designed for small fingers and to endure harsh
treatment by babies, are the most appropriate for young book lovers. The following board
books should encourage your budding bookworm:
Books are not just educational and
developmental devices. Babies, like adults, are entertained by books. Parents and other
caregivers find that books are a very effective way to keep babies entertained. Indeed,
early enjoyment of books will help form a foundation for the vital role books will play in
your child’s formal education.
Proud Mama To