Taking those important first steps toward raising a reader doesn't have to be a challenge. Below are some answers to commonly asked questions to help you set the stage for your newborn’s lifetime of literacy:
How do babies use books?
Babies love to observe. Every time you read to your baby, you reinforce basic reading concepts, such as turning pages and following text from left to right. As you read a book together, point to the pictures, name them, and talk about them. As your infant grows, he will imitate you by turning pages or pointing to objects.
Babies also like to be held and spoken to. And books provide the perfect opportunity for them to learn about speech patterns and how to make sounds
How can I be sure that my baby enjoys reading?
Books provide vital one-on-one time for you and your infant. Through the sound of your voice and the warmth of your body, your baby will come to think of reading as a pleasurable activity.
What kind of book is best for infants?
Newborns see things best from about a foot away — or the distance from your face to your baby's while you're holding him. So it's best to select books with high-contrast images. Black-and-white illustrations and patterns (stripes, polka dots, checkers) provide plenty of entertainment for infants of this age.
To stimulate older babies, look for books that require some manual dexterity. Lift-the-flap books, touch-and-feel books, and chunky board books sized for little hands are both fun and challenging.
Most babies do not have the attention span required for lengthy picture books, so stick to simple text and rhymes accompanied by vivid pictures. Also, sturdy construction is important — you want books that will last!
Remember that while babies aren't born book lovers, they are born learners. And the more you read to them, the more they learn. They learn to love the feel of the pages in their hands (or their mouth), the sound of your voice, the beauty of the illustrations — the joy of a good book.