Wednesday, April 27, 2005

It's never too early to start reading to your baby

If you're expecting a baby or are already the parent of a newborn or toddler, you should know that it's never too early to start reading to your baby. In fact, many expectant mothers read aloud to their babies when they are still in the womb.

You can start your newborn off with plush books -- those soft, cuddly books that babies love to hold. Read the story to baby and point to the "pictures" as you go along. Look for textured books that your baby can interact with. Babies love to touch soft, fuzzy surfaces. A great interactive book is "Pat the Bunny" by Dorothy Kunhardt-- your baby will love to follow along with the book and touch and feel as you go along. Look for plush books that feature stuffed animals and pockets-- your baby will love them and will associate reading with fun times!

You can graduate to board books, which are baby-friendly cardboard versions of popular children's stories. Most board books are pretty sturdy and can withstand the gnawing and teething that babies subject them to.

As your baby gets a little older, try to make frequent trips to the library. Let your baby know that the library is a fun place to be-- and let him or her pick out some books. You should also check to see if your local library offers baby story times-- many libraries sponsor great children's programs that feature short stories, songs and finger plays.

Try to set aside a time every day to read to your baby. At bedtime, find a familiar book and read that book to your child every night. Your baby will associate the book with bedtime, which may make it easier for you to get him or her to go to sleep.

Book suggestions-- Some great books for babies include:

"Goodnight, Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown

"Pat the Bunny" by Dorothy Kunhardt

"Silly Little Goose" by Nancy Tafuri

"Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" by Bill Martin Jr.

"Counting Kisses" by Karen Katz

"I Love You as Much" by Laura Krauss Melmed

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