Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baby Books: What to Look For During The First 12 Months

Elementary reading specialists and co-authors of Baby Read-Aloud Basics, Caroline J. Blakemore and Barbara Weston Ramirez, have studied the language and physical development of babies up to two years of age, and through their research have identified a number of read-aloud stages and the types of books best suited for each stage.

STAGE 1: THE LISTENER (birth - 2 months)
  • Books with rhymes
  • Books read aloud before baby was born
  • Your favorite children's books
  • Board books with black-and-white patterns
  • Any reading matter of interest to you
*(Blakemore and Ramirez, p.53)

Examples include:
  • Tomie's Little Mother Goose, by Tomie dePaola. A great collection of over 24 wonderful rhymes and verses that have been childhood favorites for generations.
  • Black & White, by Tana Hoban. An accordion style fold out book featuring graphic black and white designs on contrasting backgrounds. Featured everyday items are a perfect conversation starter for the very young.

STAGE 2: THE OBSERVER (2-4 months)

  • Wordless picture books
  • Rhyming and song books
  • Board books with contrasting primary colors or bold black-and-white designs
  • Soft cloth books
  • Books that can be chanted with rhythm
*(Blakemore and Ramirez, p.70)

Examples include:
  • Let's Play!, by Michale Blake. Beautiful black and white photographs with everyday objects highlighted in contrasting primary colors. A fun introduction to common play items.
  • Fuzzy Bee and Friends, by Roger Priddy. Develop sensory awareness with this adorable cloth book full of textured fabrics, bright colors and rhyming text.

STAGE 3: THE COOER (4-8 months)
  • Homemade books with faces of family members and friends or pets
  • Mini board books that baby can easily hold and turn the pages
  • Rhyming books
  • Books with words and pictures about routines such as bathing, eating and sleeping
  • Old books or magazines that the baby can hold, manipulate, and tear
  • Touch-and-feel books that stimulate senses
  • Large books with colorful pictures and sturdy pages
  • Plastic or cloth books that can be used in the bathtub or put in mouth (teething books)
  • Books that label objects, toys, or parts of the body
  • Books with illustrations well matched to the text
*(Blakemore and Ramirez, p.87)

Examples include:
  • Farm: Touch and Feel, Dorling Kindersley Publishing. Little hands explore the textures of favorite farm animals. A fun sensory experience.
  • Baby Faces, by Margaret Miller. A great substitute for homemade books with faces, this board book features spectacularly photographs of demonstrative baby faces. Each photograph clearly illustrates the accompanying text.
  • Where is Baby's Belly Button?, by Karen Katz. An adorable lift-the-flap book focused on parts of the body.
  • Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?, by Dr. Seuss. Sounds come alive in this brightly illustrated, lively mini board book from one of our most cherished children's authors.

STAGE 4: THE BABBLER (8-12 months)
  • Books with accompanying CDs and tapes by artists such as Raffi, with favorite children's songs like "The Wheels on the Bus" and "Old McDonald Had a Farm" and many other favorites that have repetitive choruses.
  • Homemade books about baby's first birthday or other experiences
  • Rhyming books
  • Books that label objects, toys or parts of the body
  • Books reflecting baby's daily experiences, such as animals at the zoo, construction site vehicles, or shopping with parents
  • Speciality books with different shapes, textures, and sizes, with mirrors or noise buttons
  • Books exploring space and time concepts, such as inside, under, after, and next
  • Books illustrating action words, such as running, jumping, or sliding
  • Books that encourage children to chime in and repeat a word or phrase
*(Blakemore and Ramirez, p.103)

Examples include:
  • Wheels on the Bus, by Raffi. Rhythm, rhyme and repetition unite in this version of a favorite childrens' song. Even very young children will love singing along to its repetitive chorus and joining in with accompanying hand motions.
  • Yummy, Yucky, by Leslie Patricelli. Children will love repeating "yummy" and "yucky" in response to a spirited toddlers antics- spaghetti is yummy, but worms are most definitely yucky!

Anyone interested in books targeted to infants in their first year may want to check out three collections that Laughing Giraffe Books offers. Oh Baby! , Peek-a-Boo Baby! and Books for Baby (click on links for pictures and additional information) contain the highly captivating books featured above, and come with a fun game to play with baby as well as a fabulous prize. Each selection is offered as either a book bundle or a book of the month club and comes fully wrapped and gift ready. A perfect baby shower or new arrival gift!

Click here to visit our website.

Laughing Giraffe Books' Book Bundles make a perfect gift!

** Read aloud stages and suggestions on the types of books to read at each stage are from the following source:

Blakemore, Caroline J., and Barbara Weston Ramirez. Baby Read-Aloud Basics. New York, 2006.


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