*Be sure to check out our “Storytime with The Warren Center” video series at the end of this article.*
Reading to Babies
Reading out loud is a great time to work on those social skills. Take the time to hold your baby and get some cuddle time in as you are reading out loud. This gives you both an opportunity to bond and build a connection during the activity. In addition, as you are using different facial expressions and emotions while you’re reading your baby is picking up and learning about these expressions or emotions every time your voice or facial expressions change; building socio-emotional development.
As you’re reading out loud your baby is picking up all the words or sounds he/she is hearing. From a very early age infants are wired to start picking up on different sounds and patterns we use during communication. Use this time to label the different pictures and use animal or environmental sounds. Remember, as you are reading out loud you are exposing them to different words and sounds that will help them develop their communication later down the road.
While reading with your baby you are encouraging them to listen, touch, and explore the pages on the book. During reading their attention is on you and your voice, they are touching, grabbing, or mouthing the book. These are all signs that your baby is exploring and trying to figure out what a book is. This helps them develop their attention and thinking skills as they listen to your voice and explore the book you’re holding.
As your infant gets older, allow your infant to touch or practice flipping the pages as they hold the book. This strengthens their fine motor (muscles) skills and allows them to be a part of book reading.
Tips to use while reading with your baby:
- Use cloth, vinyl, hardcover, or colorful books that are easy to hold and explore. Pick books with simple text, books that are repetitive (rhymes and songs), and books with clear and familiar pictures.
- Pick books with different textures (soft, crinkly, rough, etc.), books with mirrors, or books that fold-out that make grabbing and exploring fun. (Examples: Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr; Moo, Baa, La la la by Sandra Boyton; Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell and Touch & Feel books by Roger Priddy)
- Don’t worry about the text. You do not have to read the entire book or what is written on the pages. Focus on labeling or asking questions such as, “Where is the dog? There is the dog! Ruff ruff!” Your infant may not be able to respond but you are laying the foundation for when they can.
- Read with expression and animation, use fun or silly sounds, change your voice, use facial expressions, and sing nursery rhymes. Have fun!
- Babies love and learn from repetition so don’t worry about reading the same book over and over again. They love it!
written by Nora Chavez, Early Intervention Specialist – The Warren Center
Storytime with The Warren Center
Welcome to our Storytime with The Warren Center video series. In this series, parents will discover ways to interact effectively with their children during storytime, plus you’ll find stories you can play for your children read by the therapists at The Warren Center.