Kids & Parents

Board Books: Your Baby’s Start to a Love of Reading

I vividly remember one morning during my maternity leave.

I had been up for hours already, we had already played with different toys and done tummy time, and we had just watched Dad leave for work.

I turned to my baby and said "What are we going to do for the rest of the day?"

My kiddo loves to pull down all the books.

It was 7 AM.

We read. We read a lot those first few months.

I read board books, picture books, poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends (I've always been fond of this one). One day I left for work while Grandpa was reading aloud from The Wall Street Journal (hey, we all have our go-to favorites).

The Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, has an initiative called Babies Need Words Every Day: Talk, Read, Sing, Play.

It's extremely important to talk to babies every day--talking to them, singing, reading--this exposes babies to new and different words.

Singing helps stretch out the sounds of words, so babies can hear how words are made of different sounds.

It can be a challenge to have conversations with your baby. I thought I wouldn't have a problem with this (I do like to talk), but at the beginning it felt odd.

He just stared as I talked about what we were doing, what the cats were up to, what we were going to get at Target.

I would ask questions and give space for his replies before I answered. Maybe this comes naturally for you. I needed practice.

I needed the handout we use at Baby Storytime to give samples of rhymes, and repeated them over and over.

I still carry it in our diaper bag so I can have a rhyme at the ready when we're waiting at the doctor's office. 

I also put on Pandora and sang along to the songs I knew, but forgotten I had memorized. Being sleep deprived doesn't help in these moments!

Babies don't just like The Wheels on the Bus. Maybe your baby will like Fly Me to the Moon and Edelweiss as much as mine does.   

He also enjoyed when we read together.

Books are so yummy!

One particular favorite was The Busy Little Squirrel. Having read that book over and over meant it was a great one to grab when he fussy. Hearing "He was so busy!" would change a potential meltdown into a grin.

Board books are your child's first encounter to the wonderful world of books.

Not only is it a wonderful format for stories, the sturdy pages make it easy for little hands. They taste great too! Babies explore with their mouths, and board books are a safe toy to chew on.

Wondering what books to start with?

Just grab a bunch at the library! Our board book section is back by the Play Pen Early Literacy play area. And don't worry about them-there's a reason the sign says (almost) indestructable books for your child.

Here are some board book suggestions.

Don't forget to check our calendar to see when our next session of Baby Storytime will happen! We hope to see you there. 

Cover of The Busy Little Squirrel

The Busy Little Squirrel

I love squirrels, and this board book was a perfect way to introduce my love of them to my baby. It's also a wonderful way to show the changing of the seasons, since fall is turning towards winter. There's a second squirrel in the background gathering up items as well. There are so many things to talk about with this book.

Cover of Moo Baa La La La

Moo, Baa, La La La!

Feels like everyone has a favorite Sandra Boynton title. You can't go wrong with any of her titles but this will have you making tons of different animal noises, and gives baby a chance to chime in with what they want to say at the end. We rotate through all the classics, but this is definitely one I'll still have memorized when he's an adult. 

Cover of Baby Loves Spring

Baby Loves Spring!

We love Karen Katz lift-the-flap books and use them in our baby storytime programs. Baby loves seeing what's behind the flap!

Cover of Global Baby Boys

Global Baby. Boys

There's also a Girls version of Global Baby. Kiddos love looking at pictures of other kids and these books are a great way to show kids from around the world.

Cover of Baby Animals

Baby Animals

This is a great introduction to nonfiction. It's nice and oversized, with big pictures of animals (we love staring at the bunnies). For older kids, you can show them how to trace the lines with their finger which is a good way to build pre-writing motor skills. Other books in the same series are Baby Dinosaurs and Bugs

Cover of That's Not My Dinosaur

That's Not My Dinosaur

These 'touchy-feely' books are a great way to introduce different textures and talk about them with baby. There's even a squirrel one!

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