Baby Reading Tips


Reading personalized baby books

Reading to children from as soon as they are born has shown to have a tremendous impact on a child’s developing brain, especially their language skills and vocabulary. When it comes to reading to babies, it helps to know where and how to start, so here are a few helpful tips:

Birth to 6 months: Since the vision of an infant is still developing during these early months, it helps to choose books with little or no text and big, high-contrast pictures. Books that have interactive elements like textures, fabrics, mirrors, peepholes, popups and other inserts can also help babies learn as well as stimulate their still-developing brains. For parents, even choosing to read a brightly printed magazine on glossy paper can make for good baby-reading time – since the words are not yet important at this stage, kids can still learn by looking and they can still benefit from simply spending time with you and hearing the tone of your voice.

7 to 12 months: Before they are a full year old, children begin to grasp language and may already have a very basic vocabulary. Even if they aren’t speaking yet, they likely have an understanding of some basic words. In this vein, picking books that are about just one object or person per age are best; hearing you name something your baby recognizes reinforces their vocabulary and helps them realize that the words are linked to the illustrations, so make sure to point to the right pictures at the right times!

Acting out what you read with your face, hands, and voice can help, too. Let your baby babble back to you in response. Doctors suggest that this “conversation” can help them learn to take turns and teaches them about focusing on the same thing as someone else while also boosting communication skills.

Reading Personalized baby Books

For both ages under the one-year mark, you may want to stick to board books or fabric books, something that can withstand your child playing with them – and this sort of behavior should be encouraged at this stage. Kids learn by feeling, and sometimes tasting, so when they are very young they will explore new objects by physically touching them or even trying to gnaw on them to get an idea for what they are and how they feel.

13 to 18 months: As kids get older, you can begin introducing books with more than one sentence per page. Also, acting out the story and really getting into the dialogue can be extra effective around this age. When reading animal noises, be sure to imitate their sounds. When your child begins to mimic you, they will also be learning. After a while, ask them what sounds the animals make and so on. Ask them where the animals/subjects are in the illustrations.

15 to 18 months: Your baby may be able to answer questions with a word, so give them the opportunity to identify images they know by asking, “What’s that?” If they respond, you can try adding adjectives, sounds, colors, or other things you can use to describe the image and further boost their vocabulary.

19 to 24 months: At this age, many toddlers find the familiar routine of reading as reassuring and calming, and they may find a similar comfort when it comes to the same familiar books as well. Around 18 months, children may begin to ask for the same book over and over and over. This can help kids develop a love of reading, but as they become more and more familiar with the same book it also allows them to learn new words on top of the ones they have already memorized.

Baby Story Books That Teach Early Math Skills

baby story books

Teaching children math is easily as important as teaching children to read, for all of the same reasons. Alongside our reading skills, our math skills are used every day as we go about our daily lives. From counting to algebra, geometry and even trigonometry, math skills have practical use for everyone. We calculate currency using math, as well as tax or interest. We measure distances using math, and calculate area and perimeter. Math skills help us tell time, balance our checkbook, and even measure the span of our lives.

However, math often slips through the cracks when we are building a foundation of skills with our infant or toddler. We read to and with our babies, teaching them words and concepts such as shape, color, and texture. Many math skills are things we don’t think of as math skills, such as counting or measuring. We also misjudge “math” as, at minimum, addition and subtraction, which infants and toddlers have not yet developed the cognition to grasp. So our focus often falls upon words and reading, with those activities often considered completely separate from math.

Developing Early Math Skills

The fact is, young babies and toddlers are learning a wide variety of math skills that they will take with them when they start learning formal math in school. A few concepts babies learn just from exploring the world around them include:

  • Shapes
  • Numbers
  • Counting
  • Bigger and Smaller–children begin to understand size relationships
  • Patterns–not just shape and color patterns, but also the pattern to their day, such as that parents go to work and come home regularly or that bedtime comes after dinnertime
  • Grouping–the grouping of objects by what makes them similar
  • Passage of Time

As infants and toddlers learn to manipulate the world around them, they will experiment with the concepts listed above in a variety of ways, such as stacking blocks, grouping items by color, counting cracks in the sidewalk, and indicating their own age by holding up a corresponding number of fingers. In response to the need to teach these skills to young children come many board books that can be enjoyed with your baby, that also contribute to teaching them mathematical concepts. Some of them have colors and patterns that your baby can look at, while others have textures for your baby to feel (and, inevitably, taste).

baby story books

Counting and Shape Books

Books about counting are stories that encourage children to count in fun ways, such as Counting Kisses, which is sure to bring smiles along with its titular kisses, and Toddler Two, a story about twins counting pairs of things (here, you and your child also touch upon grouping).

Pattern books usually come in black and white, which draws your baby’s eye to patterns and contrasting colors. They pay attention and interact with the book, but the exposure to patterns in what’s really important for their development. Spots and Dots has no words at all, but features geometric shapes that draw the eye and stimulate the brain.

Shapes are frequently found in board books because they can be brightly colored as well as adapted to other mathematical concepts (such as patterns, counting and grouping), but books such as The Book of Shapes give them the spotlight.

Personalized Books

Personalized books add an extra layer of attention, because the math adventures in the books feature your child in a prominent role, usually as a main or pivotal character. Many of these books feature well-known characters, such as Disney princesses, superheroes, or Sesame Street characters. Let’s Count, for example, has children counting with Elmo, Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, and Dora the Explorer personalized books even feature counting in Spanish.

Babies and toddlers are sponges for knowledge of the world around them. The more they experience of life, the more they explore and open up the world around them. As more of the world comes within their reach, they absorb more and more about it. Encouraging learning through reading begins at a young age, and creates a bond with your child that will last a lifetime, but, as you can see, reading doesn’t have to be focused solely on words and language. There is plenty of room in a baby’s mind for learning math and numbers, too!