We know that reading to your child is so crucial, even sometimes before birth. Introducing your baby to books early is fantastic for language development and brain growth! So wondering what books are musts for your shelf? Here are The Speechies top 10 books for your baby before age 1.
Babies Love Babies
Its a fact. Babies stare at themselves in mirrors, not because they recognize themselves, but because they are fascinated with faces. Your face especially, and other babies too! Baby Faces, by Margaret Miller is a definite must, and should be one of your baby’s absolute first books!
Your baby is constantly listening to you speak, and sometimes simple is better. Babies will begin to imitate simple sounds around 6-8 months, and Peek-a-Who by Nina Laden, can provide ample opportunity to hear and even say some of these words! Want to get baby babbling? Make this book a regular read.
A Little Extra Lovin’
Touch-and-feel books are all great for engaging your baby in a language and sensory experience while reading books. Animal Kisses, by Barney Saltzberg is definitely on my bookshelf. Simple pictures and great adjectives, make this book a hit.
It’s a Zoo Out There!
Lift-the-flap books are also spectacular for keeping your child engaged and introducing them to basic concepts (like open and close) for following simple directions. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is a classic, and an absolute must-have on your shelf. The language in the book is predictable and its filled with new rich vocabulary in a simple sentence structure.
Sandra Boynton is an all-time favorite, and all 10 of this list could easily be by her. The natural favorite is But Not the Hippopotamus. It provides enriching vocabulary with a repetitive musical tone, and your child will be looking for that hippo on every page.
It’s Ok to Be Emotional
Another Boynton must is Happy Hippo, Angry Duck. Emotions are an abstract concept for babies, but they recognize the extremes. Remember that exaggeration is one of the best methods for new word learning, and this book allows you to get emotional and make book reading a salient and fun time with your tot.
Let’s Get Physical
Learning the names of body parts is one of the first 50 vocabulary words that most children have, and that is probably due to the constant repetition that we give them. Whether its during bath-time or getting dressed, we are naming things for baby to hear. Toes, Ears, & Nose by Marion Dane Bauer is another delightful lift-the-flap book that helps provide that repetition necessary for new word learning.
A Story in Utero
Surely Dr. Seuss didn’t intend for this one, but adapter Tish Rabe created something great for moms, dads, and even siblings waiting for a new babe to arrive. Oh, Baby, the Places You’ll Go! A Book to be Read in Utero is a charming baby shower gift and adds to the excitement and anticipation of having a new little one. Plus, studies show that talking to your baby on the inside, actually does make them smarter!
Simple Ways of Learning
Orange Pear Apple Bear, by Emily Gravett provides simple illustrations and simple language that will teach your baby that words have meaning. The book only has 5 words throughout the story, but they are used in different ways to show how language is adaptable and introduces kiddos to the nuances of syntax. Its also a great book for older siblings to read to younger siblings, a definite must-have for the shelf.
More to Bear
We couldn’t give you a top 10 list without mentioning the guru of magical children’s literature: Eric Carle. We love Eric Carle for his use of simple sentence structure with predictable page turns and happy endings. Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? is a classic must-have for the simple illustrations to keep good attentiveness and opportunity for you as the reader to use different animals sounds and noises to keep your child engaged. Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? does the same thing with a new set of vocabulary words to learn.
The most important thing is that you choose books that you like to read to your child. Take book reading to the next level, use funny voices, ask questions, engage your child in pointing to pictures, and make book sharing a special time. Remember, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” -Emile Buchwald