3 PARENTING TIPS FOR READING TO BABY
The speech and motor skill developmental milestones present some of the most important learning that occurs during baby’s first and second years of life. Just as we examine the mini-milestones which make up the large motor milestones, speech also develops in micro-stages. Develop baby’s first library with some classic baby books and begin reading early on. Even if she does not seem to be paying much attention to what you are saying because she is looking at something else, often she is listening and will occasionally wander back out of curiosity. The motor skill of sitting and paying attention to a book is very important learning during baby’s first year. We would like to share some of our tips for parents on how to read to baby.
TIP #1: READ TO BABY AND EXAGGERATE THE WORDS
Baby language development evolves through imitation. Babies try and copy what their parents and others around them are doing. In order to imitate speech, they need to watch them speak and study what they are doing with their lips as they speak. When you read to baby, she will watch your moving mouth very closely to see how you are creating words. As you exaggerate the words so they sound the same but she can see your mouth moving more clearly, it is easier for her to learn.
TIP #2: READ FAVORITE BABY BOOKS MULTIPLE TIMES
Through hearing a favorite baby book read repeatedly, baby begins to identify words more clearly. She may not be able to say them quite yet, but she begins to hear them. For example, soon baby recognizes the word “cat” from the book “The Cat In The Hat.” since it is a reoccurring word with an illustration. Over time, this repetition leads to anticipation. Baby learns to look forward to certain parts of the story or to seeing favorite animals.
TIP #3: READ TO BABY AND INVITE HER PARTICIPATION
Babies love to join a game. Peek-a-boo, rolling a ball, reading a story–they are all games for baby. However, it is up to you to show her the game. As you read her a baby book, point to the animals as you say “dog,” “cat,” “monkey,” and “lion.” After awhile you can ask her, “Where is the monkey,” “point to the lion,” and “can you find the dog?” Remember to praise baby when she answers correctly! As she learns to identify animals, objects, colors, etc., soon you can ask her to participate even more. Read the post on the baby book “Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell and watch the accompanying youtube video of a father reading the story to his 20-month old son. The child has heard the story many, many times and loves it! Watch how he looks forward to naming the animals and to telling one line of the story that appears on each page–”Send him back!” His father invites his participation every step of the way and his son has made impressive speech development. And, better yet, both are having fun through the process!