Reading With Your Baby
Early language development and literacy skills can be developed with the right choice of books that you share with your baby. Reading with your baby at bedtime also promotes togetherness and calms him before he goes to sleep. It is a great activity to do when bonding with your baby because it provides a lot of opportunities to learn.
You can start by choosing books that are appropriate for his age and interesting to look at. Keep in mind that your child will also want to make this choice. Offer him a selection and variety. Give him time to explore each book before deciding on what he wants. Make sure that the books you show your baby are appealing and have pictures that go with their stories. Pop-up books are good too because they are interactive and will really catch your baby’s attention. The language used in the books should be as simple as possible. The sentences should be short and easy to understand.
You can find ones with repetitive language such as those with nursery rhymes. It is also a good idea to choose books that are at a level higher than your child’s competence. This maximizes the learning potential of reading.
When your child participates actively in the story, it teaches him more about books. He will learn how they are read, how the pages are turned, and about words that are associated with reading. Teach him the signs for opening the book and turning the page.
Take this opportunity to develop his left to right eye movement by running your finger along the words as your read them.
You and your baby can have a good conversation about the book. Just follow his lead and wait for his response. Point out the pretty pictures and talk about them. You can incorporate Auslan in this activity by showing your baby the sign for each picture you see. You and your baby can also guess what is going to happen next. Doing this will encourage your baby to make predictions. If your baby says or signs about a certain picture, build this up by including words that can describe it. For example, your child may point out the picture of a house. You can go further by telling him that, “Yes, this is a white house and it has a red door.”
Encourage your baby to ask questions about the story as you go through the pages.
As your child develops language skills, the books that you read and share with him should get more complex. Eventually you will have to actually start reading the text of the book and not just pointing at the pictures. As mentioned, try to go beyond his current language level to make it more challenging. This helps your child develop his literacy skills. It is important that you encourage your baby to be a reader at an early age. This is an important skill for him to master because it will be of great use to him throughout his life.
Check out the selection of the special Auslan board books that we have in our store. These cover a range of classic childrens stories and nuresery rhymes in easy to handle board books that children love.