Rock-a-Bye Reader

How to Read to Babies
By Esme Raji Codell, Author of How to Get Your Child to Love Reading

We have been reviewing products marketed to teach babies to read and debated about whether babies can learn to read. We all agree it’s important to help teach kids to books by reading to them aloud from a very early age.

Esme Raji Codell, author of “How to Get Your Child to Love Reading” recommends choosing books that are durable when reading to babies. She explains, “May titles are available in durable and less-expensive “board book” editions with rounded edges and thick, no-rip cardboard pages.”

Ms. Codell prefers original paper-page editions because the pictures are so much larger and it is easier to point out details. But, she explains that board books are more fun for a baby to hold, and laminated pages make for easy drool clean-up.

Hints for Reading with Infants:

  • When sharing books with infants, one of the goals in looking, not reading. Talk about the pictures. Name objects and colors; count repeated images.
  • Relax! Don’t worry if the baby turns the pages, or chews the pages. Choose books in board or paperpack editions if it makes you feel less nervous.
  • Don’t be afraid to kiss and cuddle or nurse in the middle of a book. It comes with the territory. If the baby can make the association that books equal time and attention, the baby has made a positive association with books. regardless of what is written on the page.
  • Another goal is conversation. Say what you think will happen next, express your surprise, anticipation. Laugh. Ask questions, “What do you think will happen? Will the balloon pop?” all right, maybe they can’t answer now, but someday!
  • Try to find books wit musical qualities, repetitions, and rhythms in the language. Mother Goose rhymes are always marvelous.
  • As you read, move your finger from left to right beneath the words. The fact that books are read this way, and that we turn pages in a particular directions is new information to a baby. Keep moving your finger under the words throughout a child’s primary years, as it helps with word recognition.

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