I was asked a week or so ago, by one of the Facebook followers to compile a reading list for an 18 month old baby. From what Mummy said, her daughter has a wide variety of books already, so, without doubt, Mum and Dad have given their daughter the best start to her reading journey! After much thought about the best way to write this post, I decided to compile a list for a specific age group, is just impossible! Not because there aren’t ‘technically’, age appropriate books, there are – it is just that every child is so different and I would hate to make a parent worry because their child isn’t ready for a book of a so-called ‘typical’ 18 month old baby! Also, there are those children who will be ready for ‘meatier’ books sooner than their chronological age might indicate!
Therefore, what I have done is compiled an example of the type of books children need to experience at different stages of development! You will know when your child is ready for the next stage! After all, at this point, nobody knows your baby better than you do!
This particular post is focused on the first stage – ‘Reading From Birth!’ Now, I’m not suggesting you whip out a book immediately after labour but as soon as you feel able; then it’s time to read. I’ve taken photographs of the range of books to show you what they look like so when you’re out and about, you’ll recognise them! These are by no means all of our books! It is merely just a sample! We are book crazy in our house and I would be actually quite frightened to count how many books we have! It’s an obsession – but a good one I think!
Books From Birth:
For babies, books are about developing their senses. There are absolutely LOADS of books for this purpose and they are all so beautiful and tempting! The very first type of book for a new-born are the high-contrast books. There is an ever-growing range of high-contrast books available. (To find out why high-contrast is important for baby, click here.) Material books are great for sucking, chewing, feeling, grabbing and generally treating however a baby so wishes as they are easily manipulated by little hands and they can be thrown in the washing machine. Babies love looking at their own reflection, this is the beginning of finding out who they are! There are two books below with mirrors in and J loved them and G is still very much enjoying them. Books like ‘My Little Rainbow’ below are lovely to poke fingers through the cut-outs and the vibrant colours on each page, really excite baby.
Babies love looking at faces – whether they be photographs of real babies or simple high-contrast drawings like the ones below, doesn’t matter. I would try and provide baby with an example of each as they may prefer one over the other.
Texture and Anticipation:
Babies need as many opportunities as possible to develop their sense of touch. The lovely range of flip/flap and ‘feely’ books on the market, makes this easy. The ‘Peekaboo’ range provide the texture and anticipation babies love. Babies find it funny when they know or anticipate what is going to happen next, so lifting the flap and saying, ‘Peekaboo’ is a hit! The ‘It’s not my…’, ‘Whose…’ and ‘Baby Touch’ books have lovely materials and textures for baby to experience.
Board books are ideal for young babies who can sit up and hold things. The thick pages mean baby can turn the pages themselves and for me there is no greater sight than a baby ‘leafing through the pages of a book!’ Board books are durable and will withhold being thrown, sucked and generally anything a baby has to throw at them!
Mini Board Books: I think a basket of mini board books is great for babies. Babies love emptying and exploring so, providing them with a basket full of wonderful, durable and ‘small enough for them to handle’ books is a no-brainer for me!
Books to Interact With:
We want our babies to become excited by books as part of their journey into reading for enjoyment. I don’t think there is an easier way to excite babies with a book than with one they can interact with. Pop-up books are wonderful for this. Babies get so excited when a flat book suddenly ‘comes alive’ and pops off the page. One of J’s favourite books around 9/10 months old was ‘Snuggle Bunny’ (pictured below) as J loved giving bunny a cuddle and helping him get ready for bed as the story dictates.
We want baby to begin with simple stories. These particular ones are good as they have flaps in, for them to lift and discover what’s inside.
It is never too early to immerse baby in language. Although they won’t be ready to say the real words, it does not mean we shouldn’t be using them. In my opinion, baby language (goo goo and gaga) is a complete waste of time! Yes, we should be talking to baby all the time but why not use real words? Babies enjoy a high pitched, sing song voices but we do not have to adapt the words we use too! I like the animal book below as it is good for making lot’s of noises like, ‘moo’ and ‘woof’ etc. I wanted to also mention though, that whilst it is crucial for baby to hear these sounds (as part of early phonics), I personally think it is very important not to tell children that a cow is called a ‘moo moo’ or a dog is called a ‘woof woof!’ I hear this all the time and parents say it is easier for them to say. I think we need to model the correct word, from the beginning and heard enough times, they will eventually say it!
To look at the next stage of books, click here… “Developing a Love of Reading”