Born to Read
Babies were born to read! Did you know that you can start building your child's early literacy skills now? Beginning at birth, you can use books, songs and fingerplays to help your child grow up to be a successful reader and learner. Your child will reap the benefits for years to come if you start helping him or her develop a love for books and reading now.
Fitting reading time into your daily schedule with your baby is one of the most important things you can do for your child. Any time you sing, talk, listen or read to your baby you are building important skills.
Parents as Teachers
As a parent or caregiver, you are in the best position to help your baby develop a love of books and reading because you know your child best. You know when your child is likely to be alert, sleepy, grumpy or hungry. You can help them learn in ways and at times that are easiest for them. You are your child’s first and most influential role model – if your child sees that you enjoy reading, he or she will want to read, too. And most importantly, you’re YOU – there is nothing your child enjoys more than spending time with you!
Sometimes it seems as if we’re reading to ourselves when we read to our babies, but that’s not the case at all. Reading time is a special bonding time that stimulates your baby’s mental development.
Reading Has Benefits!
- Reading helps your baby learn new words.
- Reading enhances your baby’s listening skills.
- Reading is a soothing activity, which can make parenting easier.
- Stories, songs and nursery rhymes introduce your baby to many experiences and feelings he or she may not experience otherwise.
- The sound of your voice is comforting to your baby. Feelings of comfort increase levels of serotonin in the brain, a chemical that stimulates mental functions and thought development.
- Most importantly, songs, books and fingerplays are fun!
How to Read to Your Baby
- Make reading time a special bonding time for you and your baby.
- Have a regular reading time (or multiple shorter times) with your baby such as before a nap, before bed or after meals.
- Choose a time when your baby is relaxed and happy.
- Find a cozy, comfortable place away from the TV and other distractions to share books.
- Speak in a pleasant voice with lots of inflection. The way you read can really make the words come alive. Point to pictures and talk about them.
- Hold the book so your baby can see the words and pictures clearly.
- Allow your baby to hold the book, point out objects in the pictures, repeat your words and imitate the sounds you are making.
- Young children quickly discover favorite books – reread your baby’s favorites whenever asked.
- Keep reading times short and fun. Stop if your baby becomes restless, fussy or bored.
Note: Babies like to play with books – and that includes chewing, throwing, mouthing, and treating them like a toy. This is completely natural. It’s how children get to know books at this age. If you start to read and your baby just wants to play with the book, let him or her explore it first and you can read it together later.
The Phases of Development
How do I know if my baby is "normal"? New parents often wonder if their baby is developing as he or she should be. Find out what you can expect over the next five years using these phases of development.
- Newborns - Birth to 6 Months Old
- Older Babies - 7 Months to 1 Years Old
- Young Toddlers - 1 to 2 Years Old
- Older Toddlers - 2 to 3 Years Old
- Preschoolers - 3 to 5 Years Old
Note: Keep in mind that all children are different and your baby may not develop exactly according to these guidelines. For more information about development stages, take a look at these websites.
The Six Early Literacy Skills
What are the six early literacy skills? How can I help my child develop these skills? What books do you suggest I read to my child?
You may have heard the terms “early literacy” or “emergent literacy” before without really knowing what they meant. Early literacy does not mean teaching your child to read. According to the American Library Association, early literacy is what your child knows about reading and writing before he or she can actually read and write. Beginning at birth, your baby can begin to develop skills that will help make learning to read easier. By helping your child master the six early literacy skills, you can help prepare your child to excel in Kindergarten.
Find out more about the six early literacy skills and how to develop them by following the links below.
We're Here for You!
Don't worry; you're not alone! The Westerville Public Library can help.
- A great selection of books and children’s music
- Knowledgeable staff
- Computers for all ages
- Storytimes & programs for all stages of your baby’s early years
The library is a fun, interactive and supportive environment where you and your child can explore books, songs, rhymes, fingerplays, rhythm instruments, parachutes and more. Stop by today!