It is never too early to get started with reading habit with your baby. We read the first book to our little girl on Day 4. It is surely not an easy task at the beginning especially when the babies’ attention span is just a few seconds and they are not interacting with you. But the little effort today is a great stepping stone for a future reader.
Book reading is an age-old good habit. And “books” here obviously mean physical books only. There are many reasons for making reading to your babies a part of their routine. It aids cognitive development as you flip through the pages. Babies will soon start to flip the pages themselves. It also helps in building vocabulary and create an environment for bonding with you.
Since babies don’t really understand anything, you could ideally read anything. And no book is a bad book. However, here are our favorites that could keep your baby engaged in the long run and improve cognitive development.
High contrast books – Newborns cannot see colors until 3 months. But for the learners they are, high contrast black and white images are perfect to simulate their optical nerves. High contrast board books that are easy to hold at your baby’s eye level are good starters, especially during tummy time. “Look Look” and “Black and White” are good ones to start with. Place the books close to their eyes (8 to 12 inches) and makeup stories with the words in the book.
Fabric books – These are the books your baby needs when she begins to touch and feel things around her. The major attraction besides the soft texture of the book is the the crinkly pages. These books are perfectly light for their little hands and motivate babies to grasp as their hands become more agile. There are many options for fabric books and these are great as stroller toys too.
Mirror books – This was a pleasant find especially at the age of 3 months when the babies start to recognize faces. Mirrors are a great learning tool for babies. They help babies explore themselves, improve reflexes, practice visual tracking and of course keep them occupied for a fairly long time. Mirror books serve the dual purpose of a mirror while reading from the book and building vocabulary. Place the book in such a way that your baby is able to see herself and you just watch the magic! “I see You” and “Who am I” are our favorite mirror books.
The Wonderful Things You Will Be – If there is one book, I want to gift every baby I know, it would be this book. “This is the first time there’s ever been you, so I wonder what wonderful things you will do“. I want to repeat these words from this book every day to my girl. The author Emily Winfield has magic in her words. Even before the baby, you will love every word in this book. Do give it a read 🙂
Sound Books – Books with in-built sounds are a great interacting tool while reading to babies. You could get more creative and animative while reading to get those loud giggles out of your little one. I found these books with animal sounds and bedtime songs which aids your reading time to be more fun to the baby.
Books on culture – As a mom raising a child outside India, it is only natural that I would like to introduce culture and religion to her right from when she is little. What better way than reading some mythological stories to the baby from fun and interactive books written and illustrated especially for the little ones. My girl enjoys reading the story of Baby Hanuman and Baby Ganesha by Modi Toys. I would have loved to have books on culture in Telugu and Kannada (the languages we speak at home). We will get to them soon!
Indestructible Series – A friend on Instagram introduced me to the indestructible series books. At the age of five months, babies are curious to explore the world around them by putting stuff in their mouths. These books are a perfect way to introduce the texture of a paper without fear of putting toxic ink into their mouths. These books are specially designed for babies and are non-toxic, chewable and washable (you heard it right!)
Whatever book you are reading, it is important to make associations with what the baby sees around her every day. Reading the same book multiple times will help babies become aware of the rhythm and pattern of the text and learn the language. In the long run, repetitive reading creates familiarity with the book, the pictures in the book and improve vocabulary.
Happy reading to the future readers!