Reading with Babies

Recently, the Children's department was asked to compile a list of great books for babies for a local service group. Not toddlers or preschoolers, but great fit books for babies This got us thinking about all of the great reasons why we read to babies long before they are able to read with us or understand the plot of a book.

Reading to your baby:

  • introduces concepts such as numbers, letters, colors, and shapes
  • builds comprehension, memory, and vocabulary skills
  • gives babies information about the world around them
  • provides a fun and engaging way to bond with your child

Research has shown us over and over again how important reading to children is to their development. The earlier you start sharing books and reading aloud with young children, the better.

When is a good time to read?

  • Right before quiet time (naps, bedtime, etc.)
  • In different rooms of the house (you never know when a good moment will happen)
  • While in checkout lines at the store
  • While snuggling
  • While your child is happy and interested

This last point is a powerful one. If your child isn't sitting for a whole book or focused on it the entire time - that's okay! Put the book away, focus on something else for a bit, and then try again. Even if your baby is playing quietly next to you while you read out loud, the benefits are still there. The worst thing to do is to force your child into your lap to finish a book or to read while upset. We don't want to associate negative things with reading; lifelong learners enjoy reading and view it as a positive thing. This association starts so young and it is important to start positive and stay positive! Reading isn't a punishment. It's a joyful experience and pairing your loving interactions with reading is an awesome way to show it.

Take a look at some of our suggestions for books for babies!

HIGH-CONTRAST BOOKS are perfect for infants. They promote early eye development while helping babies make connections between images on a page and the real world.

Black on White (and similar titles) by Tana Hoban
Hello Bugs (and other titles) by Smriti Prasadam
Look at the Animals (and other titles) by Peter Linenthal
Baby Loves Sports by R.D. Rojas

BOLD COLORS, simple pictures and a few more words are a great fit as your infant grows.

Baby Baby Baby (and other titles) by Marilyn Janovitz
Rhyming and repetitive phrases make these board books true gems.

Baby's Day (Active Baby series) by Adirondack Books
With vibrant pictures that capture everyday scenes in the busy lives of babies, the Active Baby series focuses on the importance of parent-child interaction and gives children an engaging introduction to books.

Bounce and Jiggle (Baby Gym series) by Sanja Rescek
Touch is a baby's first language. Designed to stimulate the senses, this book is based on research into the benefits of baby exercise and massage, encouraging interaction between parent and baby.

Clothes (and other titles) by Liesbet Slegers
Through each big step in becoming fully dressed, this simple and educational board book helps young ones see putting on their clothes as something fun.

Cuddle (and other titles) by Elizabeth Verdick
Babies snuggle up to blankets, stuffed animals, pets, and people, depicting the many loving connections that can come from touch.

Honk, Honk! Baa, Baa! by Petr Horáček
Bold colors and simple illustrations make this a fun way to introduce and learn animal sounds.

I Can (and others in series) by Helen Oxenbury
Discover and celebrate all the things baby can do, hear, see and touch in this series of board books.

Baby Faces (Indestructibles series) by Kate Merritt
Indestructibles are baby-proof, chew-proof, rip-proof and drool-proof.

My First Words (Little Bee series) by Holly Brook-Piper
An introduction to familiar and basic words.

Night-Night, Baby! (Amazing Baby series) by Beth Harwood
An ideal way to end baby's busy day, this adorable book helps little ones fall fast asleep with calming rhymes and soothing images.

Peek-A-Moo (and other titles) by Marie Cimarusti
With bright, quirky animals and oversized flaps to lift, this book is sure to be a read-aloud favorite.

That's Not My Lion (Usborne Touchy-Feely series) by Fiona Watt
The imaginative use of textures adds a delightful dimension. As each page is turned, a different texture is waiting to be discovered.

The Seasons (Rookie Toddler series) by Rebecca Bondor
Scenes like building a snowman and playing at the beach, presented with simple text, help toddlers learn about the four seasons.

Sign and Sing Along: Itsy Bitsy Spider (and others in series) by Annie Kubler
Lively illustrations and simple, familiar songs are great tools for teaching sign language. Even if you aren't doing sign, they're fun to share.

Where is Baby's Belly Button (and other titles) by Karen Katz
Have a silly, good time while learning body parts by lifting the flaps.

Yummy Yucky (and other titles) by Leslie Patricelli
Spaghetti is yummy, but worms – and blue crayons, sand and other things too gross to mention – definitely taste yucky.


Besos for Baby by Jen Arena
Everyone has kisses for Baby, from Mami and Papi to perro and gato.

Cheerios, el Libro de Jugar by Lee Wade
Llene los Cheerios que faltan (fill in the missing cheerios). An interactive book with places to add the dry cereal Cheerios to complete the picture.

Music = Música by Hakan Şan Borteçin
Vibrant illustrations and clear text help children discover two languages by learning words for a variety of musical instruments.

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