Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reading to your baby develops language skills, an emotional bond and more


Here are more of my tips toward having a good reading experience with your baby.

First, make sure your baby’s book library is based on books you love to read; if you like the books you’ll read them with more enthusiasm and your baby will enjoy being read to even more. Although there are great baby books that share baby’s first animals and counting and words, make sure you also include longer picture books and stories that involve characters doing something and accomplishing something, you’ll want to include touching stories that teach a lesson. You might not think this matters for babies but along with 1,2,3 and ABC’s, you want to include books that share characters doing daily activities, experiencing adventure, self-discovery, kindness, sharing and compassion too because these experiences are right around the corner, only months away for your baby. Your voice is extremely exciting to your baby, it's the first voice your baby hears in the womb, so when your reading together now the more you use the language of self-discovery, kindness, sharing and compassion the more those words and sharing the emotions that come from reading books that include those development scenarios, the more likely your baby will be social and kind hearted. The more you read to your baby and talk to your baby, the sooner your child will start cooing and wanting to speak too.

Get in a comfortable reading position. I place Phoenix on the boppy pillow right now for our story times and sit right aside him but my husband likes to place Phoenix in front of him, on his lap. Find a reading position that is comfortable for your baby and makes it easy for you to hold the book and show your baby the illustrations or photos.

Reading out loud can be harder than you think so pre-read the book to yourself. Although your baby will love to be read to no matter if you mess up on a word, you want to create a stress-free environment for yourself, so know what to expect inside the book before you start reading and you'll present the story smoothly and exaggerate certain words and the emotion of that word when needed. (Whether your a creative master storyteller or a newbie, it's a good idea to practice reading out loud while your baby is still in the womb, and your baby can hear you while in the womb so I suggest reading each night to your growing baby to create an even stronger bond.)

Keep the story going. During and after your story time with your baby you can keep it thematic by incorporating elements in the book/story throughout the day or expand the story by bringing together other interactive platforms. If we read a book that involved a certain animal and I can tell Phoenix liked the sound of a certain word, like zebra, I'd show him an app on the iPad that involves a video or pictures of zebras. If the character in the book wears a certain color shirt, put the same color shirt on your baby and you can say/repeat that 'color of the day' all day and point out other things throughout the day that involve that shirt or something that was seen in the book you shared.

I truly believe reading to your baby creates and tightens an emotional bond you will have with your child that will last a lifetime. Everytime I read to Phoenix he reaches or my hand, the pages of the book, he laughs when I say certain words and smiles. We have such precious moments when we share a book.

I recently shared via Twitter during 's some of my insight on the importance of reading to your baby. (You can tune into their educational chats thursdays 7-8pm on twitter

I shared:
babies look at our faces and our voices and expressions are what shape our child's language &expression.

reading creates a bond between parent&child & you'll be amazed how your baby holds ur hand while you read.
In terms of the emotional impact reading has on kids:
kids who aren't read to can lack the lessons of love, compassion, sharing, success that books provide.
one of the reasons I read so much to Phoenix is because it gets him to speak&share, at 3 months he's talking up a storm!

Read on!
~Isobella & Phoenix


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