Birth – 1 Year

From the very beginning, singing, talking and reading are important ways to help set your baby on the road to success in school and life. As a busy parent, the first step is to get a library card.  Use it to access your local library. 

Explore other ways to help your baby grow in the first year. 

Your newborn baby hears sounds more than words. 

Sing to your baby. Choose songs with simple rhythms or melodies. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is a good choice. Sing along with the radio or just make up a song. Sing to her while fixing dinner or folding clothes, giving her a bath or combing her hair. Sing to your baby every chance you get.

The sound of your voice is more important than the words on a page.

Talk and read to your baby. Share your thoughts with your baby. Read aloud anything that interests you – a magazine article, novel or even make up a story. Talk about what you see.

In the first few months, your baby sees mostly in black and white.

Your baby recognizes black and white images and those with high contrast like bright red on white background. Read and show your baby books with black and white images; bold, bright colors and lots of white space; and books with faces of other babies.

Your baby needs to explore and feel different things.

Read books with different textures for your baby to touch and feel. As he starts to reach for objects and puts things in his mouth, select board books that have sturdy pages. Don’t be surprised if your baby puts a book in his mouth. Remove the book and give him a rattle while you read aloud. 

Be sure to place your baby on his tummy to help build neck and back muscles. Stay close by. This is a perfect time to sing and talk to your baby. You can prop a sturdy book with bright color pictures for him to see. Talk about what’s on the pages.

Encourage your baby as she begins to make her first sounds.

Your baby’s first sounds are likely burps that grow into “ooh” and “aah” noises and then babbling. Read books that feature sounds like animal and vehicle noises. Check out Sandra's Boynton's Moo, Baa, La La La! Say “moo” to your baby when you read about cows and “meow” for the cats in the book. When you talk to your baby, imitate the sounds she makes.

Later in his first year, your baby learns the names of things.

As your baby grows, he begins to learn the names of things and loves to find objects on the pages of books. Pick books that allow you to point and say the names of objects. 

The number of different words your baby hears is important.

As your baby gets older and his listening skills grow, help build the number of words she hears by reading books that describe action such as “you can”, “we are”, “she is”. Try You Can Do It, Too! by Karen Baiker and Ken Wilson-Max.

Your baby has a short attention span.

All babies have short attention spans. It is less likely your baby will sit quietly for reading, particularly when he starts to crawl. This is a good time to sing, talk and play. Books with catchy songs, poems and nursery rhymes like Mary Had A Little Lamb are good choices. You may like My Very First Mother Goose. Limit your book-sharing time to just a few minutes. If your baby becomes fussy, stop and read again later.

Bond with your baby through reading.

Cuddle up with your baby and a book. Create a book-sharing routine by reading to your baby at bedtime or just before or after a nap.


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