It is never too early to introduce your baby to books – Rosalie had her very first book in her Christmas stocking at just 4 days old! Admittedly it was a little cloth book with crinkly pages and no words, but this still counts – it has pictures, textures and pages to turn, giving her the experience of a book, as well as providing us with the opportunity to talk to her about the pictures (and make silly animal noises!).
I joined Rosalie to the library when she was a little over 3 months old – she now has her very own library card. When we joined, she received a Bookstart Baby Pack, which included two free board books, both of which are very popular now she is able, at 9 months, to turn the pages and lift the flaps.
At the library we also joined the Bookstart Bear Club – Rosalie now has a little passport which we get stamped each time we visit the library, and there are certificates to collect too.
Why are books so important to babies?
Books provide an excellent opportunity for us to sit down with our babies and talk about the pictures – we can describe what is on the pages and point out things your baby might not notice. By doing this we are exposing them to a wide range of sounds, words, emotions and expressions. This in turn helps baby learn to talk, as well as enhancing social development.
By reading aloud to your baby you are teaching them about communication, building listening and memory skills, and introducing them to the concepts of letters, shapes, colours and numbers.
My top tips for fostering a love of books
- Introduce books to your baby as early as possible: cloth books, bath books, board books, touchy feely books.
- Get a Bookstart Pack: Bookstart give away free book packs to every child in England – ask your health visitor or at the library to get yours.
- Join your local library: get your baby a library card and start visiting and borrowing books regularly. Your library might even have RhymeTime sessions you can join in with.
- Spend time looking at books with your baby: point out things on the page and describe the shapes, the colours and the sounds.
- Read aloud to your baby: don’t wait to include a story in your baby’s bedtime routine, listening to you reading aloud with expression will really help your baby’s own communication skills.
- Most importantly, make reading books a fun activity!
Take a look at my What we’re reading posts, to see some of the books Rosalie has enjoyed.