Last weekend I attended a baby shower where the hostess asked everyone to bring a book, in lieu of a card, in order to start her baby's library. I'm all for giving books, so this challenge was right up my alley! And, it got me thinking about those essential board books that should be included in a baby's first library.
A well-stocked library is a great beginning for your baby's early literacy learning. Here are four kinds of books to include, and practical tips for using those books.
1. Basic Concepts Books
Try these board books for introducing basic learning concepts and developing language.
Bright Baby Touch & Feel Numbers by Roger Priddy not only introduces your baby to simple counting, but he'll also get to interact with it by touching and feeling different textures in the book.
Pantone: Box of Color: 6 Mini Board Books! by Pantone comes with six chunky mini books that are the perfect little size for your baby hands to hold and carry around. Each mini book is bursting with color.
My First Book of Shapes is full of photographs and shapes of different sizes and colors. It's a good book for introducing shapes, sizes, and counting.
Some of the first words your baby will say will be the sounds animals make. Little ones generally love animals and voicing the noises they make. Try Animals Sounds by Aurelius Battaglia.
Read-Aloud Tip: As you read, make sure to stop and point to objects in the illustrations. Name the object or describe the color, shape, or number of objects on the page. In time, your baby will eventually start to name the items too.
2. Rhythm, Rhyming, or Repeated Text Books
Reading aloud to children helps them absorb sounds and language. Listening to a loved one reading a book fills their language tank. Add these rhyming and rhythm titles to the library shelf.
Peek-a-Baby by Karen Katz is a lift-the-flap board book. On each page, you'll find baby under or behind something.
My Truck Is Stuck by Kevin Lewis was read so many times in our house that it fell apart! This is one that will take you right through the toddler years.
Read-aloud Tip: If there's a line in the book that's repeated several times, look at your baby so she can see your mouth as you say it.
3. Song Books
It's delightful to your baby's ears to hear your voice singing to him. Chances are you will entice some baby babbling along the way.
Raffi is a well-known musician of children's music. Some of those songs have been turned into books. Try the Wheels on the Bus by Raffi.
You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis is a sweetly illustrated book of the classic song.
Read-Aloud Tip: You'll find that you memorize these songs pretty quickly and can sing them without using the book at different times of the day. I highly suggest one of those times being bathtime.
4. Naptime and Bedtime Books
It's important to have a few books that are calming, reassuring, and full of love and kindness right before bedtime. These titles will help build a loving bond with your baby, and ease him into slumber.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic childhood book, and so comforting to read before sleep.
Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton could also fit in the song book category. This was my all-time favorite song to sing to my boys when they were little. It is a memory maker.
Read-Aloud Tip: Cuddle up with baby during this read aloud time. Grab a favorite blanket, dim the lights, and enjoy these precious moments together.
Choosing books from each of these categories will be a great starter set of books for your baby. Best of all, you'll be setting your little one up on the amazing reading journey that begins at birth.
Connect with Jodie Rodriguez on her site, Growing Book by Book.