I remember taking to reading like a fish to water. Years later, I still consider books one of my best friends. I knew that I always wanted that for my baby. And that is when I start reading to my baby while I am pregnant.
It didn’t bother me that my family members looked at me weirdly because in my mind the best time to begin reading is when a child is still in the womb.
Though the little one could not see any pictures or words, she could still recognize and respond to my words. You might wonder how this is different from talking to your child, and the answer is in my child.
She loves books and lights up when I read her the books from when she was still in the womb. For me, that shows that her love for books started in the womb! Here’s a guide on when and how to start reading to your baby:
Find out when to start reading to your child
Infant stage: Books to read for your infant when 0 6 months old
At this stage, this is when you may start introducing books to your baby by reading with them. I recommend getting cloth books with sensory additions, such as rough and felt surfaces, as well as noisemakers.
This will help your child feel and hear the book as you read to them. Cloth books also have the added benefit of being made of material that won’t tear despite being chewed on multiple times.
Actually, at this stage, it is more about the bonding and not what you are reading. You could read your baby Harry Potter or A Christmas Carol and it would be fine.
This time is for your baby to understand that book and reading mean love and cuddles, and quality time between mommy and baby. It is not necessarily always about what to read.
But, if you are planning on buying new books for your baby, look for board books. These books are published with thicker pages made of cardboard. Also, it will hold up to babies exploring books, like inevitably biting the book.
Here’s a list of 24 titles that you need to purchase for your infant baby 0 – 6 months old. You may buy them or borrow them from a library because these titles are very wonderful to read with your baby.
- ABC’s by Charley Harper
- A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
- Besos for Baby: A Little Book of Kisses by Jen Arena
- Black Bird Yellow Sun by Steve Light
- Black on White by Tana Hoban
- Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers
- Faces: A High Contrast Board Book
- First 100 Words
- Global Babies
- The House In the Night by Susan Marie Swanson
- I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
- Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
- Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
- Little Poems for Tiny Ears by Lin Oliver
- Look Look! by Peter Linenthal
- Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions
- Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
- “More, More, More” Said the Baby by Vera Williams
- Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Elizabeth Hammill
- Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes by Salley Mavor
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
- Where Is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
- Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada by Jimmy Fallon
- Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli
Additionally, most babies will enjoy tactile books with flaps, mirrors, textures, and sounds. Some babies may even enjoy longer picture books with a simple plot, especially if the plot has patterns of repetition.
You may also refer to your local baby books
list which is available at different bookstores in the Philippines.
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Find out more on the perfect guide for parents on reading to your child
1. Animate me!
The best way to engage children with reading is by being an animated storyteller. Parents can do this by varying their tones and pitches when telling a story and by really living the story through their body language and voice.
2. Slow and steady
They say slow and steady wins the race, and the same applies to the concept of reading. When reading to your child, you should be unhurried and meaningful.
There should not be any distractions. Both parent and child should be relaxed. That’s why most would recommend incorporating reading to your child as part of a bedtime routine.
3. Oh the joy!
Remember that reading is supposed to be enjoyable! Steer clear of reading to your child and turn the session into a reading drill. The focus should be on the story and the joys of reading as opposed to the technicality of pronunciation and enunciation.
4. Can you relate?
As your child gets older, encourage them to pick books that interest them. At this stage, you might also consider introducing books that your child can relate to.
For example, if they are going through a new experience such as starting school or potty training, reading to your child about stories that deal with those subject matters will help them to identify with the characters and personally deal with similar situations.
As you can tell by now, there is no hard and fast rule on when you should start reading to your child. In fact, every moment can be turned into the best time. When did you first start reading to your child and are they now avid and voracious readers?
Reading to baby and brain development: When to start reading and what importance?
You probably know that it is important to read with your baby as part of their speech milestones. You may also know that starting earlier is better.
A mother may start reading to her baby’s early 0-4 months old of life. It increases the probability that parents continue reading to their babies as they get older.
Beginning earlier is important because the roots of a language are developing in a baby’s brain even before they can talk. The more words your baby hear, the more words they could learn.
When to start reading to a baby in the womb?
There is no exact time for a mother to read to her baby in the womb. However, if you are specifically picking books appropriate for your baby, it is necessary to know the right time.
The initial months for a baby are about getting used to the womb and wondering about the surroundings. As your baby develops over time, they begin to pick up sounds from the outside. This makes it easier for them to listen to the songs you hum and the words you say.
Therefore, as you are nearing completing your second trimester, your baby might react to your voice and any other actions frequently.
This also means that your baby’s cognitive development is also progressing quickly. Also, you may enhance it by listening to the right music and reading stories to them.
Importance of reading to your child research: When to start reading to baby at bedtime?
According to the research of The American Academy of Pediatrics, they highly suggests starting reading to your baby even when they were born. This explains why babies knew their mothers’ voices.
So, as soon as you can make time for reading with your baby, you should try to do it. But if you did not start reading to your baby from birth, that is not a problem. Dr. Roberts and Dr. Turner claimed that it is never too late to start reading to your baby as soon as you can.
You may particularly start reading to your baby at bedtime when your baby is ready to switch from crib to bed. This transition may occur differently with each baby, but they generally occur with ages 18 months to 2 years of age.
Image from | pexels.com
Importance of reading to babies
Reading books assists your baby’s development in different ways. Your baby might learn and get familiar with different sounds and words and they will start loving the books. Also, reading can stimulate your baby’s imagination and helps them with the world around them.
Importance of reading to your child
Reading a favorite book to your child not only creates time for bonding with them but also gives your child a sense of intimacy and welfare.
This feeling of intimacy helps your child feel closer to you, and the feelings of love and attention encourage positive growth and development. Reading not only helps in cognitive development but also in social development.
Reading, as many would say, is only hobbies. But mommies, always remember that reading together makes us closer with our children, and gives them chance to be closer to the world around them.
Republished with permission from theAsianParent Singapore
Additional information by Nathanielle Torre