So, you received quite a few board books, life-a-flap books, and even fabric books before your baby was born and now you’re wondering…what age should I start reading to my baby?
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What Age Should I Start Reading to My Baby?
The best time to start reading aloud to your baby is right away–yes, even in the newborn stage! Those board books will come in handy sooner than you think as you watch your baby gradually take in more and more each day you read together. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests reading aloud every day to your little ones.
So, start reading to your newborn right away and enjoy watching the changes as your baby becomes more alert and curious about the books in your hands. Before you know it, that tiny baby will be requesting their favorites and turning pages on their own!
What to Read to An Infant
If you have been wondering what age to start reading to your baby, you also might have wondered just what exactly you should be reading!
From the very first days of infancy, you could try simply reading aloud whatever you happen to be reading yourself at that moment (yes, even if it’s on your phone). You don’t have to read for hours. Just make a habit of reading aloud a little bit every day.
The sound of parents’ voices calm infants, which is reason enough to give reading aloud a try! It’s also an opportunity to speak clearly, accurately, and calmly to your baby–valuable auditory learning that will be the foundation of speech.
What is a lot more fun however is bringing out those board books. Chances are you have a few that are just right for your baby’s current stage.
- For the earliest reading, just pick something simple and high contrast. High contrast (like black and white pictures) is what we’re looking for here. Books like Hello Ocean Friends: A High Contrast Board Book or Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? are great for baby’s first glances at board books. This article explains more about the importance of high contrast books.
- Books with one word per page, like the Priddy books. You might feel bored with these simple books. but for growing babies they are excellent.
- Whether soft or filled with crunchy materials, fabric books will give you baby something to look at AND chew. We like Indestructibles and fabric books that crinkle when played with, like this one on Amazon.
- Another great choice is to select books featuring babies—Global Babies, Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, or Baby Talk. Babies love to look at other babies, and you’ll find that you can prop up books like these in front a baby practicing tummy time and they will be enthralled.
- Growing babies and toddlers love sound effects, rhyme, and repetition. Look for these characteristics as you select books for your little one. Babies will love giggling at the popular choices of Sheep in a Jeep or Little Blue Truck. It might seem like a long way away to think of your tiny infant giggling at books, but trust me, you’ll be there before you know it!
Establish Consistency In Reading Aloud
Aim for consistency rather than volume. Setting the habit of reading even just a few books each day will help you experience the many benefits of reading aloud. Just pick a time in your day when it fits (in the morning, after naptime, during playtime, before bed, etc.) and read a little bit every day.
If you’re reading to a baby, you’ll be thankful later on that you set an early habit of reading aloud when that baby becomes a mobile toddler. Continuing to read as your baby grows sets the stage for toddlers and older kids to love this time together (and sit still for it). They will continue to be eager listeners as sessions (and books) grow longer.
Set Up for Success
Create a few designated spots for your baby books around the house. As your little one grows, you’ll definitely need some dedicated shelves for big picture books or collections of chapter books, but at first, even a few baskets will wrangle the board book collection.
A selection of books attractively displayed in an accessible spot will help you remember to read aloud daily. Fill a few baskets with age-appropriate books that your little one loves. Watch as they begin to pick up books on their own and seriously study the pages as they grow older. It’s the sweetest!
Experiment With Various Books
You might find that your little one (or older kiddo!) doesn’t seem to enjoy reading aloud. In this case, experiment with reading at different times during the day if you can, and certainly with different books. Funnily enough, some of the most “classic” of board books are the ones my toddler is the least interested in!
Once you find their favorites, don’t be afraid to read them again and again. And again.
I hope this post answered the question of, “What age should I start reading to my baby?” for you! If you are still wondering what to read with your baby, toddler, or kiddos, here’s some of my favorite booklists for you:
- Unique Board Books to Give at a Baby Shower
- Farm Animal Board Books for Babies
- The Best Baby Board Books to Buy or Gift
- Read Aloud Books for Babies and Kids
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