Black, White and Wrinkly!
Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful baby and welcome to the chaos that is parenthood! Though reading with your little one may seem like an awkward exercise in the first few months, there is no such thing as starting too early. In fact, it is an excellent way to bond with your child and create a lifelong love for reading. The gentle sound of your voice and the comfort of being in your arms during a storytelling session is a guaranteed way to soothe your baby. You need not worry about comprehension at this stage, the experience of going through a book is what counts. Of course, this shared activity will also help you pass those initial countless hours at home!
Did you know that newborns have very limited eyesight and they cannot see much further than their own face? Books that have black and white images with strong outlines are perfect for the first few months. By three months, babies can coordinate their hands and eyes so use tummy time to allow them to engage with the books. Between four and seven months, your child can sit in your lap for a reading session. The combination of cuddling up with your child and reading a book, while allow babies to associate reading with a pleasurable experience!
At this age, reading should be introduced as a bottom-up and top-down activity. By this I mean, we should aim to provide books and activities that are developmentally suited for the child (bottom-upà black and white books), but also stories that they may not understand (top-down). The latter approach will open up your newborn to the wide array of sounds and rhythms of speech, as well as the concept of stories. I would suggest reading books with ‘stories’ at bedtime.
By six months, your little one “wakes up” to the world around them and this make them an entirely different reader! They can respond, connect and interact with books so it is essential to provide them with opportunities to do so. Ideal for six to 1 year olds, expose your baby to lamaze books and peek-a-boo books. Lamaze (tactile) books are great for teaching them around the world around them. Using their senses, they can discover what ‘bumpy’ feels like, the look of shiny surfaces and the sound of something crinkling and so on. These soft books that are bright and colourful are great to hang on car seats and strollers.
Peek-a-boo books are also great to introduce your child to at this age. You can peek through a hole to see what's on the next page or peek under a flap to see what's hiding underneath. Babies will have great fun trying to anticipate what comes next or what's hiding. Great develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills! As your baby will be able to sit up without assistance now, it’s the perfect time to give them small books to explore on their own. Use a combination of cloth books and board books.
Here are some great titles, but if you cannot find these particular books, just stick to the above brief and you’ll be fine :)
On The Night You Were Born
Ten Little Fingers And Ten Little Toes
Black on White
How A Baby Grows
Look At You
The Runaway Bunny
Margaret Wise Brown
Where is Baby’s Belly Button
Black and White
Are You My Mother
Where is Spot
Who Said Moo
A Tiny Little Story: Zoo
Flip Flap Pets