Many studies have shown that babies who are read to and sung to from birth have higher reading skills than other children. Reading aloud to your baby is a wonderful shared activity that promotes lovely snuggling & cuddling time. Reading and singing to your baby also has the added benefit of calming & soothing your baby.
At birth babies see everything in black and white and shades of grey. They are unable to focus on close objects.
But by the end of the first couple of weeks they are able to see red, orange, yellow and green. (Blue and violet take longer to see as they have shorter wavelengths & the retina has fewer colour receptors for blue light.)
By 8 - 12 weeks, babies will follow you or bright moving objects with their eyes. Short, simple stories where you can point out & name the pictures work well.
Cloth books are great - they're tough and washable. As are bath books.
Board books are heavier and harder for baby to pick up, but the tougher pages survive the 'lets put everything in our mouth' stage quite well.
As your baby approaches their first birthday, labelling pictures in books can be phased out and longer stories attempted. But don't be surprised if you still spend a lot of time naming everything as your baby tries to imitate your sounds & words. At this point, books with flaps and things to find are successful.
Repetition is the key here.
Reading repetition helps your child's language development, memory, curiosity, imagination, visual acuity and communication skills.
Try to select books that you enjoy reading and looking at. Very quickly, your child will clearly show preferences for certain books & you'll be reading them over and over again.
But the main reason to read, talk and sing to your baby is for the closeness that these activities promote between you and your baby.
Baby Catalogue by Alan and Janet Ahlberg
Baby Lit Primer series by Jennifer Adams
'Baby Touch' range of books from Ladybird
Dorling Kindersley 'Baby Touch and Feel' series
(A) Fancy That by Pamela Allen
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Hooray for Fish by Lucy Cousins
(A) Kissed by the Moon by Alison Lester
'Maisy' books by Lucy Cousins
(A) On the Day You Were Born by Margaret Wild
(A) One Woolly Wombat by Kerry Argent
Priddy cloth books
'Spot' books by Eric Hill
(A) Ten Little Finger, Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
'That's Not My' series by Fiona Watt
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
There are also many good licenced products put out by popular TV shows like Playschool.
These books can help you learn the words for simple songs to sing with your baby as well as providing age appropriate stories.
Check out my other posts for more books to share with your children.
Books to introduce a new baby to the family
Books for Sharing with 2 - 3 Year Olds
Books for 3 - 5 Year Olds
Books for Older Readers
Christmas Stories for Children
Holocaust Literature for Younger Readers
Holocaust Literature for Teens
My Childhood Favourites