Book Smart: Why Reading to Your Baby and Toddler is so Important
October is "National Book Month" and the perfect time to remind parents that reading to your little ones from a very young age can make a huge impact on their lives. Developmental psychologist Carolyn Cates told Psychology Today: “Even though children may not be talking yet, that doesn’t mean they’re not learning.” Cates, a research assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at NYU Langone Medical Center, was the lead author on a study that found that book reading in early infancy helps tremendously by increasing the size of a child’s vocabulary and improving their early literacy skills, such as name writing, beginning sound awareness and early reading skills.
Reading aloud counts as form of conversation and even at the earliest stages of childhood, having a conversation with your child help translate into bigger vocabularies, better reading skills and even higher test scores as they get older!
(Photo courtesy of @hcatorres)
Tips on Reading Out Loud to Your Children
Not only is it proven that reading out loud to your children—regardless of their age—will help build their literacy skills, but it’s also a great bonding experience. Here are some of our favorite tips to consider when it’s time to select a new page turner with your little one.
- Let them help choose the book. Your child will be more engaged if it’s a book they selected themselves. You can help guide them in the right direction by setting out a group of your favorite books for them to choose from.
- Integrate reading time into your pre-bedtime routine. Reading together is a great relaxation technique for both of you. Be careful you don’t fall asleep next to them!
- Use different voices for the characters, or if there’s a sad or happy part to the book change your tone of voice.
- For toddlers, point to and name the pictures so they can learn more words.
- When reading to a baby, place him or her on your lap while you read.
- Let your toddler help turn the pages of the book.
- For preschoolers, choose books that coincide with events going on in their lives, such as getting their tonsils out or starting school.
- Babies love board books! Stock up on a bunch and point to the pictures while you read to them.
- Find some black and white board books for your baby. According to experts, young babies still developing their eyesight and the ability to see color benefit most from high-contrast books.
(Photo courtesy of @parisaschwartz)
Best Children’s Books for Reading Out Loud
These books have become fan favorites by children and parents alike!
Moo Baa La La La by Sandra BoyntonThere’s nothing like an animal sound book to delight your baby. This fun and silly board book includes three pigs that like to say: “la la la.”
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers
Your toddler will love this story about a boy who loves books—and loves to eat them! The more he eats, the smarter he gets. Once he develops a stomachache, he has to figure out what to do.
Ages 4 and up
Rumple Buttercup: A Story of Bananas, Belonging, and Being Yourself by Matthew Gray Gubler
With quirky illustrations and a heartfelt message, this adorable book deserves a spot in your home library. Rumple Buttercup is the strangely appealing main character that proves we’re all different and special in our own unique ways.
The DockATot Grand is a comfy spot for toddlers to lounge in while reading their favorite books!