Reading is a calming but still fun activity that you can begin practically at birth! In the first weeks babies hardly have their eyes open, but their ears are open and listening, processing everything they take in. The sound of your voice is the most familiar to them of all the sounds because they’ve been listening to you talk forever. *smile* For that reason, it doesn’t much matter what you read initially as long as you are reading out loud so your baby can hear you. They are picking up on the rhythm of language and the intonation of storytelling while associating reading with the warm, comfy, safe feeling they have while in your arms or lap.
After a month or two your baby starts to have times of the day where she is more alert. Her eyes are open and she’s exploring, visually, her surroundings. This is a great time to introduce board books. Board books have thick, stiff pages that hold up to the unpredictable movements of baby arms and fingers. Books should be short, have bright pictures, be easy to hold while your baby is in your lap. Sammi loved loved loved books that were songs. e.g., Row, row, row your boat, I have 10 little fingers, Itsy bitsy spider. She also loved books that rhymed, e.g., Mary had a little lamb, Jack and Jill when up the hill, Humpty Dumpty. I’ve complied a list of board books for babies to help you get started!
We keep books in every room in our house. That way, no matter where we are, we can grab a book and read. Reading is a terrific stand-alone activity, but it also works great as a quick time-filler. I usually have a couple of books in the car and my diaper bag too. It’s an easy way to entertain babies and toddlers at the doctor’s office or any other place you find yourself waiting! For more information on reading to your babies and children, check out Jim Trelease‘s book The Read-Aloud Handbook.