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Babies Love Reading
There are few times that are sweeter than feeling a soft, warm baby snuggled up against you. The close tenderness of those moments can stay with you for a lifetime. A baby comes attached to a parent's hopes and dreams of what they wish that baby's life could be. Whether the parent thinks about it, or not, the success of most of those dreams hinges on whether that little baby grows up to be an effective reader. What makes a baby love reading?
When a baby comes into your life, there is a lot to learn. One lesson is that children learn to love reading by being read to. You need to read to them at a young age. Babies love the closeness of being held and hearing their parents' voices. Reading should be pleasurable for all of the participants. Relax. Breathe. Read. Choose something that you want to read that is appropriate for the baby's mood. Hold the baby closely in a comfortable position. Read with expression. Read for as long as the child is enjoying the experience. When the baby gets restless, bring the reading to an end.
Babies do have moods! Yes they do! Try to match what you read to the baby's mood. When a baby is in an excited or very wakeful mood, then that is the time to bring out the expression in your face and voice. Make the funny sound effects. Silly Seuss rhymes are a good choice. The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish are all especially good choices. You can read these books to babies and toddlers, and the books are also good for beginning readers. Richard Scarry is an author with many books to engage babies and toddlers. We wore out two copies of his book of nursery rhymes. With their Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, Jack Prelutsky and Marc Brown have something for baby's every mood. From the very silly to poems that are calm, this book has it all. At our house we found that nothing calmed the little guy quite as much as Good Night Moon. We found that this book was a great book for just before bed. We would wave good night to the moon. Since the book comes as a board book, too, a toddler can have his own special copy. What books do you remember from your childhood? Can you get copies to share with your children or grandchildren?
A young friend who was a new mother asked me, "Connie, when should I start reading to my child?" I let her know that it is never too early to read to a baby. Start in the hospital. Continue at home. Keep reading to the baby as they grow. This is a time to build relationships in the family. Make reading a comfortable family activity and you will help to nurture the next generation of effective readers.
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