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What if we were to tell you that babies love books? Don’t look surprised; they really do! While your bub may not be able to understand the words or the stories, they definitely love the colors, the texture and the whole idea of books! Check out this reading guide for babies from birth till the time they attain the age of one year.
Before you get started with reading for your baby, it is important to take stock of his sensory and visual development. His senses are developing at a rapid pace now and he will learn new things every day. Picking the right books and spending time with them every day will only speed up the process.
First Six Months
At this time, your baby cannot see very well. You need to pick books that focus on pictures and not words. The bigger and brighter the pictures, the better! This will stimulate their visual skills and teach them about contrast, colours and brightness.
Your baby is also learning about things like depth, reflection and mirrors, and the cause and effect relationship. It is thus a good idea to get books that let him interact with them. Try books with inbuilt mirrors, holes that can be looked through, strings to pull at, etc. As you read from these books, your baby will be soothed through your familiar voice and also enjoy doing all these interactive things. You don’t have to worry about the text or content too much; it is your tone and comfort that matters.
Six Months to One Year
Now is the time when your baby is actually learning to understand some words. As he listens to words used around him every day, some of them stick and start to make sense. While reading, focus on these familiar words to further strengthen the association and memory. For instance, Mom, Dadda, Milk, Puppy, etc.
While reading, make added effort to link the pictures with real things. This helps him understand the world around him better and find new interest in books. After all, they are a depiction of life! For instance, if you are reading about a dog, you could point to the picture in the book and then to your pet dog. For this exercise to be effective, pick books that are not cluttered and have large pictures on every page.
You will also notice that your baby now begins to coo and babble during the reading sessions. This is a sign that he finds it interesting and engaging. Respond to his sounds by making them yourself and reiterating some words loudly and clearly, preferably in Motherese. In the long run, this will cement his foundation in speech and language.
The benefits of reading are plenty, even for your baby! Make reading a part of the schedule, preferably at night time or in the afternoons. It can eventually become a bedtime story session or a fun way for you to bond. Just make sure you pick safe, light books that your baby can touch and handle without any fear of getting hurt.