Reading to Infants

March 15, 2019 by Marketing & Communications Department
Reading to Infants

By Kelly Reisig
Sidney-Richland County Library

As the parent of a newborn you want your baby to thrive.  Did you know that reading aloud to children is critical in their ability to thrive?  A recent study in the American Journal of Pediatrics showed that children who were read to as infants and toddlers later had higher average scores on assessments when they entered kindergarten.  In addition, those same children were still above average 15 years later.

“Wait…another thing to add to my growing list of to-dos for my newborn?!?  I’m stressed out enough already!”

Here’s the good news…this can also be one of the most enjoyable, special times where you and your baby can bond over books.   Babies love to cuddle and hear the voices of their parents.  Even though they are too young to understand the words, they are still learning the rhythm, tones and inflections of your voice.  Study after study has shown that the more words your baby is exposed to, the better prepared they are to read on their own later.  The pictures in the book exposes your newborn to a variety of colors, shapes, letters and patterns.  Reading books aloud to your newborn also introduces emotion in a way that watching TV can’t.  As a result, babies begin to learn that words have meaning and certain sounds mean certain things.  Above all, it fosters a love of reading that will help them throughout school and adulthood.

“I wasn’t read to much as a child, how am I supposed to do it “right” now?  I haven’t picked up a book in years.  This isn’t comfortable for me at all.”

Try not to think of reading to your child like a performance.  The only “audience” is your baby, who delights in the sound of your voice. 

“Toddler board books are such quick, short reads.  I would need a dozen a week to keep up.  I don’t have money to spare for tons of books.”

You can access the Sidney-Richland County Library for hundreds of baby books.  Then as you read the stories identify a few favorites.  Those can be the ones you purchase for your child’s special at-home library.  Your public library also carries audiobooks and DVDs too! 

“It would be great to have a list of books.  My family and friends have offered to purchase books for my baby but I don’t know what to tell them to buy.”

Here’s a list of my ten favorites to get you started.  Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg of possibilities:

  • Alpha Block by Christoper Franceschelli
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? By Eric Carle
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  • Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Gossie & Friends Say Goodnight by Oliver Dunrea
  • I Wish You More by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • Guess How Much I Love You? By Sam McBratney
  • Time for Bed by Mem Fox
  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Jerry Pinkey

Also here are the top 5 tips to find even more books:

  • Look for books with playful language (rhyming words or words you can act out like animal sounds)
  • Books with Sharp Color Contrasts (black and white or bright colors) peek an infant’s interest
  • Books they can manipulate (Lift the Flap or Touch and Feel Books)
  • Nursery Rhymes, an old fashioned tradition with big time results.  You can’t go wrong here!
  • Don’t forget that one of our favorite things to do at the library is to help you find new favorites!  Stop in and ask any of us!

The Sidney-Richland County Library is open Monday, Friday, Saturday from 10:00 am - 5:00 pm and on Tuesday - Thursday from 11:30 am - 7:00 pm.