Last weekend, I attended a baby shower where the hostess asked everyone to bring a book, in lieu of a card, to start her baby's library. I'm all for giving books, so this challenge was right up my alley! It also 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.
ABCs and Vocabulary
Scholastic Early Learners: Noisy Touch and Lift Trucks is an interactive way to teach your baby or toddler common sounds and encourage language development. Flaps reveal entertaining sounds, and tabs and touch-and-feels develop hand-eye coordination.
Peppa's First 100 Words is your ultimate tool to exposing your little one to our world of language! Bright, vivid illustrations of words like "kite," "duck," and "frog" will captivate your child, all while Peppa and George guide them through the book.
Scholastic Early Learners: Touch and Feel 1 2 3 not only introduces your baby to simple counting, but also allows your child to interact with the story by touching and feeling different textures in the book.
My Rainbow Surprise by Amy E. Sklansky is a magical book bursting with shiny colors and eye-catching illustrations your baby will love; plus, this chunky board book is in the shape of an actual rainbow, perfect for your baby's little hands to hold and carry around.
Carry and Learn Shapes is full of fun shapes and colors little ones see all around them. With fun flaps and interactive pages, your early reader will be captivated for hours.
Scholastic Early Learners: My First Book of Shapes is an interactive board book designed for hands-on learning! Each page introduces a new shape and its characteristics, and the book also shows kids where those shapes appear in the real world.
With 64 different animals to find, your little one will have a blast searching for chickens on a farm and fish in the ocean in Amazing Animals: A Spin and Spot Book by Liz Charlesworth., an interactive board book that introduces your baby to the entire animal kingdom.
Read-Aloud Tip: As you read, be 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 your library shelf!
Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church provides a spin on the classic "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" with a heartwarming rhyming story featuring adorable illustrations.
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, also by Caroline Jayne Church, brings the classic lullaby to life with this dazzling board book. It even features a foil cover that sparkles on the darkest of nights!
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.
The Wheels on the Truck Go 'Round and 'Round is a curriculum-based Rookie book created with the help of early education experts, and is a sing-songy ode to the big vehicles and machines kids love.
You Are My Sunshine by Jimmie Davis is a sweetly illustrated book of the classic song you know and love.
Read-Aloud Tip: You'll find that you'll memorize these songs pretty quickly! Try to sing them without using the book at different times of the day, like at bedtime.
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 you ease your little one into slumber.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown is a classic childhood book. As a little rabbit says good night to everything and everyone and the room slowly dims, your child will be lulled off to sleep.
I'm Not Tired!: A Bedtime Routine Book by Marybeth Butler and Janice Behrens helps to teach little dreamers about the importance of bedtime routins and catching z's.
Read-Aloud Tip: Cuddle up with your 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 for the amazing reading journey that begins at birth.
Connect with Jodie Rodriguez on her site Growing Book by Book.