Early literacy (reading and writing) does not mean early reading instruction or teaching babies to read; it is the natural development of skills through the enjoyment of books, the importance of positive interactions between babies and parents, and the critical role of literacy-rich experiences.
Literacy development begins at birth and is closely linked to a baby’s earliest experiences with books and stories. Babies learn language through social literacy experiences - parents and caregivers interacting with them using books. Whether babies and toddlers are listening to your voice, soaking up the language, focusing on the pictures, or just learning how to turn pages, they are learning the basics. These experiences also serve to associate books with parental affection, attention, and approval. (American Library Association)
It's important to have lots of books around the house, but especially important to have ones that will grab your baby's attention. These are the kinds of books that Books for Babies provide at birth!
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Babies love to snuggle close when you look at a book together. This increases their sense of security and their bonding with you while building a love of reading.
Babies prefer bright and bold or high-contrast images that are easier for them to see. Books made of sturdy materials like board books are easier for babies to handle.
Describe what you're doing throughout the day. Narrate your actions. The more you talk with your baby, even before they can understand or respond, the more they will learning about language and the stronger their vocabulary will be.
Babies love to reread books and sing songs over and over again. This repetition is great because it strengthens their language development.
Read for a few minutes at a time whenever you can, but don't worry when their attention span wanders. Babies are learning so many things at once! Any and all reading you do with your child, even in small bursts, will help increase their language development, their positive feelings about reading with you, and their love of reading.