Even before our Baby Bear was born, I already started buying her books. I wanted to foster in her the love of reading. I left the shopping of clothes and cutesie stuff to her maternal grandma (gua-ma), while I took care of her books and educational toys. I bought different types of books… as in, a lot! That’s why I was super worried when we started reading to her at 3 months and she showed no interest whatsoever in any type of book! She would just rapidly close or throw the books to the floor. We tried every type of book — cloth book, Lamaze books, board books, books with sounds, with puppets, every type of baby book that I could conceivably get my hands on! Fast forward to now at 10 months, I am happy that my Baby Bear loves reading books. We now read to her the classics like The Runaway Bunny, On the Day You Were Born, and Goodnight Moon, among others.
Like I said, it didn’t start out this way. Here are some things I learned along the way that helped me:
- Try to discover what type of book interests her. For babies below 4 months, the most practical book to start with is a cloth book since it is light and soft for baby to touch and feel.
- Go for picture books that have the simplest execution. The best books are the ones with just the picture and the word. Flash cards are a good example of this type of reading tool.
- Invest in board books as your baby will just crumple and tear the paper pages. Believe it or not, my baby even uses the board books as a spring board to getting to another place and even tries to stand on it! Yikes!
- Point to the words when you read to your baby to help him associate that there is a word for everything. Take it a step further by pointing out objects as you go about your day to further associate that there is a name for everything.
- Size of the print is important – the larger the print, the better. Don’t make reading too hard for them.
- Pick a good time to read. Make sure baby isn’t sleepy or hungry.
- Have a special reading nook. Read where there is no distraction. Separate the toys from the books.
- Read with passion – as enthusiastically as possible… with feelings! 🙂
- Consistency is key! If your baby is like mine and she doesn’t show interest at once, do as my husband did. Plop her down every night on your lap with a bedtime story until it becomes a ritual to her and she begins to like it. Warning: expect a lot of squirming!
- Last but not the least, kids love to imitate so show them also that you love and ENJOY books. Give her a book to read while you are reading your own book. Kids learn best if we model the behavior.
Make it a part of the daily ritual to read books. I am thankful to Papa Bear who persevered in this endeavor. He lovingly picks up the books that Baby Bear throws to the floor and goes back to reading from whence he left off. Her favorites are the Baby Touch book series that I got her from The Book Depository. She can already point out to where some of the objects in the book are like star, owl, pink bird, and can even pinpoint details such as the tiger’s tummy, wheels of the car, and others. I am one proud momma!
Here is the list of books that we read to her in rotation. Hope you can also share with me how you read at home and what your favorites are too! 🙂