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Importance of Reading To Your Baby

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a mom reading to her baby in a park

We asked reading expert Rebecca Chrystal-Armstrong, Director of Literacy Services at Reading Is Fundamental, for tips on how best to read with young babies, why read-aloud time is so important and how to choose good books for your baby.

8 Tips for Read-Aloud Time

You don't have to be the world's most fantastic reader to enjoy reading aloud with your baby (and the world's most fantastic reader might even need some pointers on reading to kids!). It's more important just to read than to worry about how you're doing it. But there are some simple ways to make the most of read-aloud time.

  1. Turn off the TV and radio, and find a peaceful spot - try to make it your regular read-aloud place. 
  2. Hold your baby in your lap and cuddle as you read. He’ll start to associate reading with the feeling of being warm and safe. 
  3. Make sure your baby can see the pictures. Point to things in the pictures, name them and talk about them.  
  4. Make reading a fun time. Use a silly voice, make noises, or rock your baby as you read. Include her name in the stories.  
  5. You don’t always have to read exactly what's on the page. Use the pictures to make up your own story. Point to objects or ask questions as you read. (“Look at that dog! He's a big brown dog. What's he doing?”) Although your child doesn’t understand, you are letting him know that read-aloud time is active. When he's able to, he'll become your active partner in reading - even if that just means making noises or grabbing the book.  
  6. Expect babies to touch, grasp and taste the book - that's how they learn. If it gets hard to read, offer your baby a toy to hold or chew while she listens.  
  7. Stay on a page as long as your baby is interested. Turn the page when he shows - by trying to crawl off your lap, for example - that he's no longer interested.  
  8. In the beginning, read one or two pages during read-aloud time. As your baby gets used to being read to, read more pages. Put the book away and do something else when even turning the page no longer holds her interest. (But remember that her trying to eat the book doesn't mean she's not interested!)
 
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