Every month we share a special book with our readers. Books are so important in childhood. They are important throughout our lives, but in childhood especially, the teach us invaluable lessons. They show us a world we could never imagine. They open up our imagination, they give us language development, they show us new friends, new places, and they teach us about ourselves. A child’s love and appreciation of books begins very early. Even the smallest of babies can appreciate and love a book. My youngest is almost two and he absolutely adores books. He brings them to me constantly begging for me to read them to him. He eagerly turns the pages, he touches the pictures, and he even “reads” them when I am not helping him. The best way to cultivate the love of books and reading is to introduce them to books very early, make sure they are age level appropriate, and developmentally appropriate.
Appropriate sounds like such a strange word. Parents might be thinking content; the book doesn’t have content that would confuse or scare the child, but that isn’t quite what we mean.
Did you know that the first 6 months of life children recognize images in black and white and bold patterns? So during this stage you want to have books with bold patterns and stick to contrasting colors like black and white.
After 6months+ you can add in books that have unique textures. Things the kids can feel and move, soft, hard, rough, scratchy, etc.
Around one year you can add in ones that have sounds or pop-ups. These things can help with their development of space and depth.
When you are reading with your young child try to read in a soft and soothing voice at first. As children grow change your vocal range with different characters. All of this adds to the experience of reading and teaches kids how to use language and their own voice. It also keeps them calm, or alert, depending on the inflection of your voice.
Board books are always an excellent choice in early books. They are resilient. They can be used and abused by young hands. They also usually have very bright and interesting images and illustrations appropriate for this age group. We recommend looking in to lots of different types of board books, but you can never go wrong with Sandra Boynton. Her books have been a favorite of young readers and their parents for decades. Be sure to check out Opposites by Sandra Boynton. It is a fun story that will teach your kids all about opposites.