Bring Books to Life for Young Kids and Babies

26 Jul 2017

Use board books. The small, sturdy cardboard books as well as washable books are perfect for little hands, and they can withstand babies’ natural inclinations to bite and chew anything in their grasp as well. It’s totally normal for babies to put books in their mouths. It’s how they explore, and it makes them feel that the book is their own special object. Plastic bath-time books are perfect for babies and toddlers who fuss in the tub.

Invite your child to turn the pages. This will get your child involved. Babies can’t turn pages on their own, but 18-month-olds will begin to try. It’s fine to skip pages or not finish a book!

Bring the story to life. Use different voices for each character and act out scenes with gestures or body movements. Repeat key phrases and invite your child to join in.

Run your finger under words as you read. This will help to build the awareness that there’s a difference between words and pictures. You’ll also be showing your child that, in English, print goes from left to right. Even very young children may be able to tell the difference between the front and back covers of a book or know if a book is upside down. It’s all part of getting to know books.

Try “reading” a book without reading the words. Just talk about the pictures. What’s happening on each page? What do you see?

Let your child judge a book by its cover. Put two books in front of your child and say, for instance, “Let’s choose a book. Would you like to read the book about the bears or the book about the cats?” Then your child can point to or reach for her choice.

These tips are obviously geared toward parents of very young children, but parents of older kids can encourage reading for pleasure this summer as well. Sit together in the sun or shade while you each reading your own book, or find a book you both enjoy and take turns read aloud together.

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