2019-01-01 / BookBag

What to Read to Baby?

From colorful classics to new favorites, books for babies help brain development and build relationships.
Paula Bannon | Schlow Centre Region Library

For most new parents, even if you’ve taken the classes and read all the right books, bringing the baby home from the hospital is filled with so much uncertainty. How will baby sleep? What do we do when he or she won’t stop crying? How do you pick the perfect diapers (or formula, crib, shampoo…)? After all of those exhausting choices, choosing what to read to your baby might take low priority. But research has shown that in order to help babies’ brains develop and be ready to learn how to read, a child must be read at least 1,000 books before they start kindergarten. In fact, reading to your baby is so important that many libraries, including Schlow, have a 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program to encourage you to do just that! To get you started, here are just a few of the wonderful books you can read to your baby.

Before they are able to see colors, young babies respond strongly to books with high contrast black and white pictures. Tana Hoban’s books, such as White on Black and Black on White, feature simple black and white pictures and minimal text — a perfect place to start reading with your child. Spend time on each page talking about each image, point out the shapes your child will recognize and spend time talking about new ones.

Some board books feature pages where your child can lift up the flaps to see what’s hiding inside. One of my favorites features a little boy who writes a letter to a zoo and asks them to send him a pet. In return, he receives several fun animals such as a giraffe, a lion and even a snake! But none of these wonderful animals is the right fit. Your child will love Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell as you lift each flap to see what animal will appear next. Will the perfect pet ever arrive?

Babies love to look at pictures of other babies! Board books that feature pictures of real babies will definitely be a hit with your child. Susan Musgrave’s book Kiss, Tickle, Cuddle, Hug is a great choice. Each page features a bright picture of a child and invites parents to shower their own child with affection as they go through the book with a kiss, hug or tickle.

And if you’re looking for something silly, you can’t go wrong with books by Sandra Boynton, especially Blue Hat, Green Hat and Moo, Baa, La, La, La. Boynton’s books feature whimsical animal drawings and rhyming text that often features animal sounds. They’re sure to become a family favorite!

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