Books and babies

When I began to think about the phrase “books and babies,” it immediately reconfigured in my head to the tune of “love and marriage.” “Books and babies, books and babies…” It got stuck in my head, which was unfortunate, because the next line to come to mind was “go together like a bat and rabies.” I’m not sure Frank Sinatra would approve. At any rate, when the lovely and witty mama writer Katey of Kateywrites asked me to do a guest post for her series Raising Readers Monday, I knew exactly what I wanted to explore as my topic: books and babies.

Image of mother and her infant son sitting in a chair reading

Reading with my son when he was 2.5 months old

Below is a snippet from my post:

It is never too early to begin reading to babies. Even newborns. They benefit from the visual stimulation of the pictures before them, the rhythms of the words and narrative, the act of being held and cuddled, the sound of a parent or caretaker’s voice. As far as literacy goes, babies begin to learn about the orientation of a book, the way the pages turn, and that books have particular sound patterns that go along with them, long before they can even fully absorb a story.

Enjoy the cuddles, and don’t worry if your baby wants you to turn the pages quickly. Just because they are speeding through doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoying it, as well. It might mean exactly the opposite, in fact! My son loved the collages and rhythms of Dancing Feet! by Lindsey Craig and Marc Brown long before he had the patience to listen to every word. But that didn’t matter. Eventually he wanted to hear all the words, too, but in the meantime we skipped around or did a speed reading version, which made me laugh. It remains one of his favorite stories. Above all, have fun when you’re reading together with your baby. Have fun watching them read with others, too. Have fun watching them decide story time isn’t for them on a particular day and crawl or scoot or squawk at the library instead. Parenting a baby…it’s a precious time, an anxiety-ridden time, a time that I wanted to speed read on some days, and on other days to linger on each page, each word, each image.

Read the full article, which includes suggestions for making book selections for the youngest readers, interpreting your baby’s opinions on books, and ways to incorporate story into your child’s life. Take some time to explore Katey’s blog! I have already learned so much from her, and am honored to share a small corner of her online thought space.
Image of a toddler sitting on his mother on a couch while they read together

The second I lay down on the couch, my 18-month-old toddler, rocking some stylish bed head, runs over with one of his favorite books and climbs up.

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4 thoughts on “Books and babies

  1. Thanks again for the great post. It is getting massive traffic, by the way – and much love from moms and dads. But I do NOT thank you for the “books and babies” jingle – which is currently taking over a small corner of my mind.

    • Katey, you are so very welcome. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts on your blog! I am glad to hear people are reading it! And um…sorry about the song… however it is a small comfort to know that I’m no longer alone in cycling it through my head. 😉

  2. Great post! My baby loves fabric books, but right now is not very interested when I try to read or show him board books. Hope he’ll get to love books eventually (I’m such an avid reader and think it’s so important to love to read). I already scheduled to share your guest blog post with my FB fans.

    • I am so glad you enjoyed the post! It sounds like your baby is on his way to becoming a book worm himself. The fact that he already loves fabric books is wonderful, and don’t give up on the board books. My guess is something will catch his attention eventually, even if it’s not for the duration of the whole book. But that little bit of interest builds up slowly! Thank you for sharing!

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