I really enjoy reading to my Jaybird. It started from week three of his life and although now at 20 weeks I know he still can’t comprehend what I’m saying but reading to him while he sits on my lap (or Daddy’s) builds on that closeness we share.
When I was a young pup I didn’t go to a library until I had started school. My mum would actually buy me books each time we went to the Post office (love my mum). I was allowed to choose one book from the spinning holder and I remember selecting the ladybird well-loved tales like Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and The Princess and the Pea. I had other favourites like that Eric Carle classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar and then I went on to adore some fantastic Roald Dahl children’s stories…I still do.
I usually read to Jay three times a day although this is not set in stone. During his first bottle in the morning we watch his favourite Peppa Pig, and then I read to him before he naps again. We read some more in the afternoon and then it’s daddy’s turn when he returns from work in the evening. I’ve been pointing out the pictures to Jay and describing them as I turn the pages but I think I may have scared him once or twice by going over the top with character voices! Another thing I’ve noticed is that it probably makes sense to read to the little people when they are alert. The Baby’s very first black and white book series feature high-contrast black and white illustrations specially designed for babies to focus on and these were Jay’s first books.
When you read, your child hears you using many different emotions and expressive sounds, which promote social development and thinking skills. Experts believe that reading to babies when they are very young sets them up for learning vital language skills and helps make sense of the world around them. I started with vinyl and cardboard page books as well as the touch feel books and he has a cloth book he likes to gnaw at. He seems to like ones with strong bright colours like Barry the Fish with Fingers by Sue Hendra (lovely story, illustrations and what a title!) and it’s great seeing Jay study the pages and touch them.
Many local libraries offer story times just for babies and toddlers, geared to their attention span. Supporting your local library is a good thing, it was where I picked up my free Bookstart pack for Jay which included two books. You may or may not have heard of Bookstart a National programme that encourages all parents and carers to enjoy books with children from as early age as possible. There are two packs available:
There are many benefits to beginning to read aloud to your baby well before he or she can talk. Although no one prepares you for the vocal training you need to read stories!
Thanks for reading (pun intended)