Selecting Books for Infants, Birth to 18 Months (page 3)
Selecting Books for Infants - Birth to 18 Months
Long before children can walk and talk, they will listen closely to the rhythmic rise and fall of their caregiver's voice. Before six months, the baby's experience with stories and poems is closely tied to music and rhythm experiences.
Babies older than six months still enjoy rhythmic sounds and repetition. Reading nursery rhymes and simple stories to babies will help develop their language skills and offer a change in the words and sounds they hear every day. Reading to babies also will help them learn to listen and to tell the difference between sounds.
Cloth books, soft plastic books, and board books, simple story books, and wordless picture books offer babies something to feel, touch, look at, and think about. By looking at books, babies will learn that pictures have meaning. As you point out things in the pictures, they will begin to use their eyes to connect pictures with words.
A six-month-old is ready to sit in your lap and can reach out to touch and feel the book as you point to the pictures. By nine months, most babies will try to help you turn the pages. Turning the pages of a think board book will help infants feel good about what they can do, as well as help develop their small muscle coordination. Choose a book with a short, simple story and a lot of rhythm and repeated words and phrases.
Books for Infants
Simple story books, nursery rhymes, poems, wordless picture books, cloth and board books are good choices for babies. Young infants will enjoy picture books made of cloth or cardboard that have pictures of things they know. They like eye-catching colors such as red, blue, or yellow, and pictures with high contrast like simple black and white drawings.
From about 15 months to 18 months, you can start to read simple stories with plots. Books that children can take part in, like Pat the Bunny, delight older babies. Books that introduce ideas like up/down, in/out, big/little, and over/under are good for older infants as well.
Types of Books for Infants
Board Books — Pages are heavy, sturdy, and laminated, perfect for little hands. The pictures are simple and clear, the books are brightly designed, the stories are simple and short. Babies can chew on sturdy books without causing too much damage. Clean books by wiping with 1/2 cup bleach per gallon of water, window cleaner, or rubbing alcohol.
Cloth Books — Pages are made of heavy-duty cloth. Pages aren't as easily turned as those in board books, but the books are durable — just toss and wash.
Soft Plastic Books — These are durable and can even go in the bathtub.
How You Can Help
Infants do not have long attention spans, so keep your reading activities short and fun. It also is a good idea to have board books on low shelves so babies can reach them when they want.
Try reading, singing, or reciting poetry and rhymes or doing finger plays during bath or feeding time. Remember that children of this age love to have things repeated over and over, so be willing to recite the same rhyme a number of different times. Soon babies will respond to the different tones and rhythms and may try to repeat the rhyme or do the finger play along with you.
It is the language and social interaction that surround the reading, not just the words and pictures of the book itself, that foster literacy development. So, have fun with books! Re-read old favorites again and again. Share a wide variety of books with your child -- storybooks, concept books, information books, poetry books, books about people like you and about people who are different.
Ask for these and other books at your local library:
- Baby Faces by Margaret Miller
- The Bear Went over the Mountain by Rosemary Wells
- Black on White by Tana Hoban
- Blue Buggy by Janet Ahlberg & Allen Ahlberg
- Bumpety Bump by Kathy Henderson
- Diez Deditos: 10 Little Fingers and Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs from Latin America by Jose-Luis Orozco
- Humpty Dumpty: And Other Rhymes by edited by Iona Archibald Opie
- Jack and Jill and Other Nursery Rhymes by Lucy Cousins
- My Colors/Mis Colores by Rebecca Emberley
- Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
- Playtime Rhymes, a DK Publishing Book
- Peek-A-Boo by Jan Ormerod
- Peek-A-Moo! by Marie Torres Cimarusti
- Touch and Feel: Baby Animals a DK Publishing Book
- Touch and Feel: Kitten a DK Publishing Book
- Walking Around the Garden by John Prater
- What Do Infants Do? by Debby Slier
- Wow! Babies by Penny Gentieu
Adapted with permission from the National Network for Child Care. From "Good times with stories and poems," by Patricia A. Johnson, Ed. D. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.
Copyright 2007 by Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
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