By Kathryn Margaret Evans Ombam
Reading to your infant can be a wonderful, nurturing and soothing experience for both you and your baby.
Reading can be a great time to connect and calm, cuddle and coo, and begin the lifelong learning process for your child.
Your infant will be most interested in hearing your voice and watching you as you read. Don’t be frustrated if they don’t actually focus on the books much, trust me, they are listening!
The images they will enjoy the most will be high contrast: black and white, bright colors, darkly outlined illustrations, and simple photographic images.
Try to choose times when the baby is mostly alert. Most new parents are so tired, there are always times when the baby is awake and you are tired.
I found those to be our best times to read.
I would place my daughter on her bouncy seat, on my chest, or sometimes even during “tummy time”. Then I would get as close to the baby as I could – less than 12 inches away – and read with the book about 6 inches from her.
I personally liked to read books with an actual story, instead of those with just images, I found them more interesting and if I was interested, I read to her more.
Even tiny babies are working hard to understand facial expressions and emotions, so it is never too early to start practicing your funny voices, and animating the story to the extent you are comfortable.
You may notice that if you find your silly side, everything feels a little lighter after a particularly fun book.
So while you are planting the seeds of future literacy, accent, pronunciation, letter and word identification, and all other aspects of language, remember the most important thing to focus on is spending time with your baby!
The act of reading together is just another way to encourage social interaction, enjoy a few moments and begin to share what will hopefully be a long career of reading together.
For starters, try these titles:
- Look, Look By Peter Linenthal
- Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? By Eric Carle
- Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton
(There is an official tune, but try creating your own to this sing-songy book!)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar By Eric Carle
- Baby Faces by Orli Zuravicky
Kathryn Ombam is a writer, editor, and career counselor whose specialty is in business and academic writing. She has most extensively worked with artists and designers.
Her bibliophile status and her editing work were her primary writing outlet until inspiration hit in the form of a writing contest in 2006. Her current efforts can be attributed to a fiction writing group, her blogs, and her ongoing desire to comment on her life.
Ms. Ombam’s first published work of fiction will be published in an upcoming short story anthology. She also writes a children’s book review blog: http://readingbaby.blogspot.com
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