Reading aloud to your baby
New parents do ask how early could one read to their children. There’s no such thing as starting too early. Reading aloud to your child is something you can expect to carry along for a great many years. Here are a few tips to get you started on reading to your little one!
Choose books that have rhythmic text
It doesn’t have to be rhymes always but alliterative or onomatopoeic words lend themselves to reading aloud. They let you create a beat or play with your voice or add another dimension to your reading. Think words like Splash, Crash or “Beep! Beep! Sheep in a jeep on a hill that’s steep”. Dr Seuss is a master at alliterative, rhyming text and nonsense rhyme. Julia Donaldson is another great choice for rhythmic stories.
Choose books that use repetition
Kids thrive on repetition. Having a read-aloud that incorporates it is a great way to include them once they can start talking. Books like Where’s Spot? and Brown Bear, Brown Bear do this simply and easily.
Choose books that are not too long
Long stories can tire you and your baby, so to begin with, choose a short read-aloud. Chances are you’ll be asked to read it one more time, and just one more time. So you might as well indulge that request. Books like Room on the Broom, Gruffalo, Paddington Bear are perfect as they have a clear plot line and end well without leaving the reader hanging in ambiguity.
Choose a variety of styles and illustration
As you read to your child, they are looking at the pictures and this is a great time to offer them a great many styles and kinds of pictures. Choose books by Anthony Browne, Axel Scheffler, Oliver Jeffers, Maurice Sendak, Jon Klassen. Keep a lookout for the annual Caldecott (USA) and Kate Greenaway (UK) awards for best illustrators. And don’t forget to try The Book with no Pictures by BJ Novak. It has – spoiler alert – no pictures!
Choose bilingual books
If you are bilingual, choose these books to comfortably switch between languages. It’s a great way to introduce another language to your child. Many cultures come with their own folk-lore and rhymes for children that were originally composed for an oral narration, so they readily lend themselves for reading-aloud.