Reading to Babies
An early literacy expert's tips on reading aloud to babies. Plus, 25 great books to read to babies.
It's well established that the earlier you read to your child, the better. Here, MomSpeaker and early literacy expert Marissa Kiepert Truong gives her best advice for how to maximize read-aloud time with your tiniest tots. Read it, then check to see how many of her recommended books are already on your shelves.
Reading with your baby is one of the most important things you can do together! It enhances your child's language skills by being exposed to a variety of words and new vocabulary, it helps you to bond with your baby and it builds a foundation of literacy skills that can influence his success as a reader. Here are my best tips for reading with your baby along with 25 of my favorite books for the littlest learners. Any (or all) of these books would be a great addition to a home library or gift for someone expecting.
Read-Aloud Tips with Babies
- Consider buying cloth or "board" books. Books that you begin reading early in your child's life will undoubtedly become some of his favorites that you will be reading over and over, and they will need to last a while. Plus, once he learns how to reach for books and handle them on his own, they will become his favorite snack.
- Select books that have bright, high contrast colors or interesting photographs (especially of faces) — all of which babies enjoy looking at.
- Be sensitive to your baby’s cues. If he starts to cry, that may mean that he's not into story time, even though you are. If he looks away, it may be a cue that he's being overstimulated. Try to understand his needs and respond appropriately.
- Read and repeat! Children enjoy and learn through repetition and it helps boost memory, so don’t be afraid to read the same books over and over again.
- Choose books or poetry that have a nice rhythm, or rhyme – which help to bring a baby’s attention to the different sounds in words.
- Make reading fun and enjoyable by cuddling, making facial expressions and varying your intonation. A love of reading is built on pleasurable experiences!
25 Books to Read Aloud with Babies
- Alice in Wonderland (BabyLit series) by Jennifer Adams
- Baby Love (gift set) by Helen Oxenbury
- Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming
- Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
- Butterfly Kisses by Sandra Magsamen
- Black on White by Tana Hoban
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
- Counting Kisses by Karen Katz
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
- Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow
- Freight Train by Donald Crews
- Goodnight, Gorilla by Peggy Rathman
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
- Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli
- Jamberry by Bruce Degen
- Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
- Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton
- My Baby & Me by Lynn Reiser
- Peek-a-Moo by Marie Torres Cimarusti
- Peek-a-Who? by Nina Laden
- Piggies by Audrey and Don Wood
- Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
- Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
- The Everything Book by Denise Fleming
- The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright
- Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
Marissa Kiepert Truong, PhD, is a Chester County, PA mom and early education consultant. This post is adapted from her blog, Land of Once Upon a Time.