Tag Archives: board books

Read to Your Baby!

Read to a newborn baby? YES! It may seem too early, but reading to an infant is the beginning of a lifetime of your child loving books and establishes a reading routine for your family. A baby doesn’t understand the words you read, but he or she feels safe in your loving arms, hearing the familiar sound of your voice, and receiving your undivided attention.

Read anything! In the earliest days of infancy, you can read anything to your baby. The sound of your voice is what is important, not the content of what you are reading. Sing-songy, rhyming text will grab your baby’s attention. Of course, if your baby isn’t in the mood to listen and is fussy, try again later. When a baby is older and more aware of what is around him and can hold objects, he’s ready for children’s books that relate to his world and introduce words and concepts in a fun way.

Start collecting books for your home library, even before your baby is born. Board books are a great type of book to start with because their cardboard construction makes them sturdy enough to stand up to a baby holding them, dropping them, turning the pages, and even chewing on them. You can buy board books at your favorite bookstore, or choose free, “gently-used” board books from a Bright Red Bookshelf  in your neighborhood. Sign up for a library card especially for your baby and start checking out board books from your neighborhood library.

Look for books that have lots of rhythm and rhyme and pictures that show recognizable objects and faces of people. You’ll want to avoid board books with too much text or ones where the pictures are too small. This happens when a larger format book for older children is printed into a board book. Your favorite childhood book may look cute as a small board book, but your baby will lose interest if the book wasn’t meant for a young child.

Keep it fun! When reading to your baby, you may not want to read all the words in the book, or even look at all the pages. Looking at the pictures, asking questions or pointing things out is another way to share books with your child. Most important is to enjoy your time together!

Fifteen Favorite Board Books for Baby (Use this list for your own family and for gift ideas for the next baby shower you attend!)

  • “Hug” by Jez Alborough
  • “Ten, Nine, Eight” by Molly Bang
  • “Snoozers” by Sandra Boynton
  • “Tumble Bumble” by Felicia Bond
  • “Freight Train” by Donald Crews
  • “Color Farm” by Lois Ehlert
  • “Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes” by Judy Hindley
  • “Counting Kisses” by Karen Katz
  • “Peek-a-Boo” by Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • “Ten Little Fingers,” Annie Kubler
  • “Chicka Chicka ABC” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  • “I Spy Little Animals” by Jean Marzollo
  • “Guess How Much I Love You?” by Sam McBratney
  • “Say Goodnight” by Helen Oxenbury
  • “Have You Seen My Duckling?” by Nancy Tafuri

Books for Grown-Ups about Reading Aloud

  • “Baby Read-Aloud Basics” by Caroline Blakemore and Barbara Ramirez
  • “Great Books for Babies and Toddlers: More Than 500 Recommended Books for Your Child’s First Three Years” by Kathleen Odean
  • “Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos: A Guide to Choosing and Loving Books Together” by Susan Straub and KJ Dell’Antonia

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Babies and Books

baby

by Elizabeth Stilwell
Early Childhood Specialist

There is an abundance of advice about the benefits of reading with babies, but what if your baby doesn’t respond…or reacts by crying? The first and best tip for sharing books with babies is to enjoy the time together. The next is, don’t give up! Research confirms that reading to babies and surrounding them with words, contributes to the development of language and their growing brains. An added bonus is that the emotional connection to this special, one to one time with you and a book, also lays the foundation for your baby to develop a life-long love of books and reading. All of this magic will happen, but only if the experience is enjoyable for both of you.

You may have already discovered that reading aloud to an infant is very different than reading to a preschooler. Here are some things to remember as you begin to make sharing books with your baby part of your family routine.

 A Few Minutes at a Time is OK.
Don’t worry if you don’t finish the story. Tiny newborns might be a captive audience. In a few months though, your baby may be much more distracted with the big world around her. As your baby grows and develops, so will your style of sharing books.

 Talk or Sing About the Pictures.
You don’t have to read the words to tell a story. The important thing is for your baby to experience sharing books as a pleasurable time with you. Singing a song about the animals or talking about the picture may be much more interesting to your baby than the words on the page

 It’s OK if your baby wants to hold or chew the book.
That’s her way of getting knowledge about what a book is and how it works. Babies learn through all of their senses. She will soon learn that there is a story inside.

 Make Books a Part of Your Daily Routine.
The more that books are woven into your baby’s everyday life, the more likely he will experience reading together as a familiar pleasure.

 Select the right book.
Books for babies should be easy for them to hold and manipulate. Books in heavy cardboard format (board books), hold up to a baby’s use. Choose board books with simple engaging photos or illustrations, rhyming text or just a few words on each page. Remember that for babies, the book is a tool to engage your baby with your voice and your words.

Snuggle up…or not
If your baby is fussy when you are sharing a book, it may be that he just needs to move. Follow your baby’s cues. Try again when your baby is happily sitting in his bouncy seat or laying on his back kicking and stretching. Try adding books when your baby is already happy!

Let your baby choose the book
When your baby is on the move, have books on the floor for her to discover. When she finds one tell her about it. Soon she will be crawling over to a book and brining it to you to read!

Babies Belong at the Library!
As part of our county-wide initiative Babies Belong at the Library, babies receive their first library card at birth. If you enjoyed a home birth or adopted your baby, stop by your library to pick up your card, check out beautiful books for your baby and connect with other families!

Here are some of Family Reading Partnership’s favorite books for babies. See more on our list of Fifty Great Books for Baby’s First Year on our website www.familyreading.org

 Whose Toes are Those? by Jabari Asim
Snug by Carole Thompson
Flip, Flap, Fly by Phyllis Root
Baby Faces, a DK book
Peek-a-Boo by Roberta Grobel Intrater
Ten Little Fingers by Annie Kubler
Rah, Rah, Radishes! By April Pulley Sayre
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton

When it comes to sharing books with your baby, it’s never too early to start and the benefits last a lifetime!

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Silly Sounds are Perfect for Your One-Year-Old

It is an exciting time when your growing baby starts communicating more intentionally around his first birthday. He may know how to shake his head no, respond to questions by pointing, and even saying a few easy words. At 12 months your child is becoming much more social and she can interact with others by imitating noises and learning new words.

Children at this age enjoy books with rhyming text and silly sounds. As you read aloud, repeat the rhymes or noises and see if your child says them along with you. Ask questions about the book. When you see a picture of a cow ask, “What does the cow say?” You can also pause before saying the last word on each page and see if your child fills in with a sound or word.

Here are some books with text just right for your one-year old. They all come in a sturdy board book format so there are no paper pages to rip or crumple and your baby can even teethe on them without too much damage. See which books your child likes best.

“Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?” by Dr. Seuss. The board book version of the original is an abbreviated story still filled with buzzing, banging, and mooing sounds and asks the child to make the sound on each page. When your child gets older, you can graduate to the longer version of the book.

Flip-Flap-Fly-Root-Phyllis“Flip, Flap, Fly!” by Phyllis Root, illustrated by David Walker. A baby bird leaves his nest and sees many other animals on his first adventure in flying. He sees a baby snake that ziggle, zaggle, wiggles, and a baby otter that sloop, slop, slides, along with many other baby animals with fun-loving words to say on each page.

“Itsy, Bitsy Spider,” a Child’s Play book illustrated by Annie Kubler. There are many books that retell traditional nursery rhymes, but the Child’s Play series are all board books that include motions to do while reading and joyful illustrations of smiling children. They lend themselves to snuggling and giggling with your baby.

“Moo, Moo, Brown Cow! Have You Any Milk?” by Phillis Gershator, illustrated by Giselle Potter. This story is based on the cadence of the traditional nursery rhyme, “Baa, Baa Black Sheep” but has many new verses that fit together to make a farmyard frolic. Your baby will love the rhythm and rhyme. You can try to just read this book aloud, but you may end up singing it!

“I Went Walking” by Sue Williams, illustrated by Julie Vivas. Each page starts with “I went walking,” with an illustration of child. And then asks, “What did you see?” We see a girl discovering animals, one by one, on her walk. When you read this book with your child, make the noises of each animal as they appear in the story and soon your child will be making the animal noises with you.

 

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Babies Belong at the Library!

Kicking off National Library Week, the six public libraries in Tompkins County and Family Reading Partnership have launched a new initiative called “Babies Belong at the Library!” New library cards especially for babies, more board books to check out, and special read-aloud and play times for babies offered at every library are all part of encouraging families to visit their nearest library early and often to make it a familiar and comfortable place for their growing family.

This week families with babies born at Cayuga Medical Center received the first copies of “Baby’s First Library Card” in a red book bag with a board book of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle, and a list of “50 Board Books for Baby” that they can find at any of the local public libraries. “Baby’s First Library Card” is also available at all Tompkins County public libraries and through many community organizations that work with families. In special recognition of welcoming babies, all six libraries have adopted a policy that there will be no fines on board books for babies.

Come, stay, and play with your baby and books at the library! Babies learn about books and stories through listening, looking, handling, and tasting! The most important thing is spending time with your baby and talking or reading, giving your baby the words that he or she will start learning and some day say back to you.

Babies like to hear stories with rhythm, rhyme, and motion. Very young babies like to look at faces of people, and as they get older they enjoy stories about the world they see around them. Here are just fifteen of many books that come in a sturdy board book format that can stand up to a baby’s curiosity.

“Whose Toes are Those?” by Jabari Asim

“Itsy, Bitsy Spider” by Annie Kubler

“Peek-a-Who?” by Nina Laden

“Flip, Flap, Fly” by Phyllis Root

“From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle

“Clap Your Hands” by Lorinda Bryan Cauley

“All Fall Down” by Helen Oxenbury

“Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” by Al Perkins

“Baby Dance” by Ann Taylor

“Snug” by Carole Thompson

“Counting Kisses” by Karen Katz

“Hugs & Kisses” by Roberta Grobel Intrater

“Carry Me” by Star Bright Books

“Where is the Green Sheep?” by Mem Fox

“I Went Walking” by Sue Williams

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Tips for Reading to an Active Child

Young children are on the go from the moment they wake up until they collapse at naptime. Crawling, toddling around, reaching, grasping, and chewing on everything is the norm. How can quiet book times fit into such a busy life? If you choose your read-aloud times and books strategically and you can include lots of words and stories into your young child’s day.

Tips for sharing books and words with your wiggly one:

  • Give your child a small toy to hold on to while you read (or one for each hand). It’s a simple thing to do and it really helps!
  • Make the read-aloud experience full of activity by asking questions and pointing out details. You can put your finger on and count objects in the pictures, do the actions that are in the story you are reading, or point out objects in the book and say “What‘s this called?”
  • Before sitting down to share a book, do something physical with your child like having bath time, playing with toys, or trying to chase ducks at the park. After all that activity, your child will be more ready to sit down and relax.
  • Read books that are short, that match the length of your child’s attention span.
  • If your child isn’t able to sit down and focus, leave the books and just talk about what you are doing, tell stories or rhymes, or sing songs.
  • Make a habit of reading aloud when your child is naturally less active before nap or bedtime. By making it a routine, your child will come to expect and enjoy hearing books at those times.
  • If your child obviously isn’t in the mood to sit still or doesn’t have interest in the book you are reading, try a different time to read or a different book.

Always keep reading together fun and something your child looks forward to doing with you. Recommended books for active young children:

  • Full of Action: “Ten Little Fingers,” “I’m a Little Teapot” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” are board books published by Child’s Play, that are familiar children’s songs. Most of us grew up knowing the motions that go with these rhymes. Continue the tradition by teaching your child your favorites. Annie Kubler illustrates these board books with her whimsical, round-headed children depicting a multitude of ethnicities.
  • Short Text: “Tickle, Tickle,” “All Fall Down” and “Say Goodnight” are all short board books with few words and lots of action. Written and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, these books are just right for a young child with a short attention span. They aren’t stories with a beginning and end, but rather a series of actions that your child will recognize.
  • Rhyming and Word Fun: “Maybe My Baby” by Irene O’Book with photos of babies by Paula Hible has a bouncy text and some words that may be new to your child. Another great rhyming book is “Peek-a Who?” by Nina Laden. The pictures are boldly colored and the text brief with cut out holes that give a peek at what comes next. Your child may giggle at the silly, repetitive sounds.

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Reading to Babies

For those of you with young children, you know that reading to a baby is much different than reading to a toddler. The youngest babies are still being held in your arms and don’t crawl away! Infants sleep a lot and may have their eyes closed much of the time even when not asleep. And, an infant doesn’t respond with a smile when you read, like a toddler will.

But know that reading aloud to your baby is giving him or her the best start in life. Your little child is like a sponge soaking up all the loving attention of being held, and absorbing the many sounds in the words you are saying. Read aloud is creating a bond with your baby that lasts a lifetime, connecting the joy of being with you to the joy of books.

Soon enough, in just 6 short weeks, your little baby will start smiling and you’ll see a happy response to all the books you’ve been reading aloud. Babies smile with their whole bodies, stretching and squirming in delight! Even when babies don’t know the meaning of the words you are reading and saying, they are beginning to discriminate sounds and associate read aloud time with snuggle time. CountingKisses

You are feeding your baby a diet of words when you read aloud. Over time your baby will begin to know what words mean and respond to the pictures and story in books. It’s a magical process!

You can read any book to an infant, but you may want to start collecting board books that are sturdy enough to go through the teething stage coming up for your baby. Choose books that you like to read aloud, that flow nicely or have rhyming, sing-songy text. Books that have silly, repetitive sounds are great too. Babies are most interested in photographs of people’s faces and books that show daily family life. Experiment with different books at different ages and see what your baby likes most.

Books for Babies:

  • “Flip Flap Fly” by Phyllis Root. Rhyming text and beautiful words describe how baby animals move through the world.
  • “Whose Toes are Those?” by Jabari Asim. Wiggle toes, touch a nose, and tickle your little baby!
  • “Baby Dance” by Ann Taylor. Dad and baby twirling, lifting, swinging, around and around.
  • “Moo, Baa, La, La, La” by Sandra Boynton. Silly farm sounds that repeat keep a baby engaged.
  • “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear” by Annie Kubler. A classic nursery rhyme with friendly teddy bears.
  • “Counting Kisses” by Karen Katz. How many kisses does a baby need? Hundreds!
  • “Splash!” by Roberta Grobel Intrater. It’s bath time! Full of beautiful baby faces and wet, wonderful words!

To learn more about a baby’s read-aloud stages and find more book suggestions, read the grown-up book, “Baby Read Aloud Basics” by Caroline Blakemore and Barbara Weston Ramirez.

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April 11, 2014 · 12:11 pm

The Book I Threw Away

I threw away my first book the other day. I don’t believe in censorship, but this was a book I never want a young child to see, so it ended up in my trash. My cast-off was a board book, a book with each page made of thick cardboard constructed especially for babies who might be exploring a book by chewing and handling. The title of this baby book was “Star Wars: Villains.”

The cover featured a picture of Darth Vader’s black helmeted head with his light saber, ever ready.  Inside were pictures of all the major bad guys in the Star Wars movies. Online I found that there is a companion book called “Star Wars: Heroes.”

It’s not that I think that “Villains” would be especially harmful to read to a baby, but why would anyone think a baby would even be interested? Scary faces from a PG movie? The format is the wrong choice for the content.  The publishers are marketing to parents, not to little babies.

This is the sad fate of many great picture books, too. A good selling book, or in the case of Star Wars, a good selling story turned phenomenon, is marketed to parents of babies to broaden potential sales. Some picture books translate well into board books, but some do not. If the content is too complex, the pictures too detailed, or the story too long, the picture book may not make the best board book.

Board books are a wonderful invention and the perfect way to introduce books to the smallest of children. It’s easy to find lots of great board books to buy or to borrow, just keep baby in mind when you are choosing.

Babies like to look at pictures that are bold and colorful (black and white for newborns) or people’s faces. Babies like to hear rhythm and rhyme, so a good story read aloud is like music to their ears. Babies are beginning to learn the names of things so they also like books with just a few words that relate to their world.

Here are some recommended board books that are just right for newborn babies through 18 months. Have fun reading to your little one!

“Baby Dance” by Ann Taylor
“Baby Faces,” a DK bookTen, Nine, Eight“Counting Kisses” by Karen Katz
“From Head to Toe” by Eric Carle
“I Like It When” by Mary Murphy
“Itsy Bitsy Spider” by Annie Kubler
“Peek-a-Boo” by Roberta Grobel Intrater
“Say Goodnight” by Helen Oxenbury
“Ten, Nine, Eight” by Molly Bang

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