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Books to Read to Babies
I'm a first time mom, so I'm not sure how 'this' works... I
talk with my baby, point things out, and try to help him learn
words. Reading to him is not working out for the past couple of
months. We will be a few pages in and he wants to slam the book
closed, tear pages, crawl away, etc... He only has a couple of
books he will listen to, sometimes. I usually just stop the
reading and do what he wants to do, or try another book (which he
is also not interested in.) I try to find books that are at his
level, so he'll be interested, but it's difficult to weed them
out of the millions of children's books out there. Any tips? Is
this a phase? Or am I missing the boat on reading with my child?
What can I do? I am a huge bibliophile, and want to make sure
reading is important to my child as well. Is it too soon to
I think it's great that you're exposing the baby to lots of
books, but in my very humble opinion you're expecting too much.
With my kids it wasn't until they were about 15-18 mnths that
they paid much attention to books, other than as chewing and
throwing objects, and it was only between 18 mnths and 2 years
that they got really into actually listening to the stories. I
would just chill about it, surround your child with books as
lovely things to look at and hold and keep pointing out stuff,
just as you are doing. Trust me, in no time at all you'll be
reading banal stories over and over and over again. And again.
And then again. Don't stress, your love for books will be passed
on without any effort, particularly if your kids see you reading
for pleasure all the time.
Completely normal...don't think my kids did anything but
dismantle books until about 18-months (unless it was a book that
required me to make animal sounds)...now both kids have advanced
language skills at 4 & 6...
Not a problem! An 11-mo-old doesn't have a long enough attention
span for a long read. I ran into this with both my kids... just
do what you're doing, stop reading when they're tired, don't
force it. Eventually they will beg you to read more, especially
when they see you reading all the time. Today my kids are big
readers and sometimes I get them to read to me!
book lover family
Don't worry. 11 mos old is WAY to early to expect a child to
pay attention to a whole book. At this age, books are for
holding, turning over, chewing on (get those great plastic
ones), shaking, and looking at a picture or two. For maybe 15
seconds. Count on waiting until at LEAST 2 years of age before
kids are ready to listen to a whole book in its entirety!
Fellow bookworm mama
I have two boys, a four year old and one year old. I would
recommend starting with very simple short board books. Your son
may not have the attention span or interest in longer paper page
books. Board books are pretty tough. I would also suggest
incorporating reading into the nap time/bedtime routine. My one
year old is now wanting more and more books at bed time, I am now
setting a three book limit and giving him a couple of books in
his crib. It is very sweet to see him looking at the books on his
own before and after he sleeps.
Some of our favorites for 1 year olds, Goodnight Moon, Pat the
Bunny, Daddy Kisses, Goodnight Gorilla, Five Little Monkeys,
books to Raffi songs, Baby Beluga & Wheels on the Bus, some Eric
Carle. Look for books with textures, songs, body parts. Trucks
and Animals are big with boys.
Just keep it a relaxed and fun experience for all of you, have
books in the toy box that he can discover on his own.
Stop worrying. In my experience, interest in books wans a bit
with increased mobility. With my first, I'd read to her at
lunchtime while she was in her high chair, or in the bath
because she would otherwise move away from me. My son gets the
benefit of an older sister (4) who I read to an hour each night-
-the same girl who I had to ''force'' to read stuck in a chair or
bath. He was allowed to quietly play during storytime, but at
12 months began to show a keen interest in reading. Now we
divide story hour up somewhat between sister's books and
brother's books. He has two favorites that I have read over and
over. In case you're curious, they are 'Goodnight Moon'
and 'The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything'. Not
sure if my boy is the only one, but he is drawn to ''scary''
books with monsters who turn out to be nice guys. Good luck!
He's normal. Don't force the books on your kid. Maybe just one at
a time. Maybe let him open and close them. At that age, they're
into the mechanics of the book. I know there's a lot of talk
about reading to your kids and I think if you keep it to a
routine (we usually read books before bed but don't push it hte
rest of the day unless they request it) it'll become a part of
life. I also strongly think that instilling a love of reading
comes from the kids seeing their parents read. My husband and I
are constant readers. We read the paper, the cereal box, and
books all the time and I think our kids see that behavior and
emulate it. My kids love to take a book and ''read'' it by
themselves. This is important. So, just go with it. Let your baby
play with the book. Board books and soft books are great at that
age just for that very reason. Don't sweat it.
I don't know if it's in the archives yet, but a similar question
was asked a few months ago. Don't worry. Sharing happy times
with books IS reading together at this age for lots of kids.
Also, sadly, while I agree reading together is important, and
demonstrating a love of books is great, you can't guarantee your
child will like whatever you want him or her to like. I read
with my son, he loved books as a toddler, and could recite many
by heart, yet by grade school, he was no longer interested. I
keep hoping that will change back!
mom of one reader and one not-so-much
Your baby is displaying a perfectly normal 11-month-old level of
interest in books. Give him another year, and he might be ready
to settle down for some more intensive book reading. BTW the next
phase will be your baby bringing you book after book, but still
slamming them shut after a page or two (my 20-month-old is at
Don't worry your child will love books eventually. . My son at
that age did not seem to enjoy passively listening to books
either. I recall there were a couple he liked to listen to for a
few pages but mostly he wanted to handle them or move about. As
he gets older, he will have more attention. And gradually, you
will be amazed...he will recite them from heart. Now at 2 years
old, the first thing my son asks for in the a.m. is a story. My
hunch is your little one is more interested in his own skills,
activity, mobility, dexterity etc. Just keep reading to him, even
if only for a couple minutes.
Please don't worry about it. There is a big push for parents to
read for their children but I've found that it really didn't work
for me unless I kept things REALLY simple. By this I mean, 1 or
2 words per page, 4-5 pages max. My kid just didn't have the
attention span. She's now 21 months and can finally sit through
her potty book. But only because I really simplified it and did
not read to her, but made up my own simple story, using only
words she knows. My personal feeling is that if there are
involved parents (and you are cuz you're concerned and trying to
read), then kids *will* learn to read, and learn to love reading
when they're developmentally ready for it. If they're not paying
attention, it means they're not quite ready.
I have an almost one year old who I want to read to more. I'm looking
for suggestions on books that I can enjoy with her, and also suggestions
for actually managing to get her to read with me (she's very wiggly!)
I suggest getting board books from your favorite thrift store because they
will eventually be chewed on and/or ripped apart. I found a bunch for about
65 cents each. I am always surprised by which books my 19-month-old son will
favor - some that are so boring to me are fascinating to him and vice versa.
What he really seems to like are the rituals we make up. For example, I
always make a "ribbet" sound when he points to the frog in one book. In
another book, on the last page I always make the book "eat" his hand. Some
books I read almost as if they were songs - I use the same rhythmic,
singsong voice each time. Repetition seems to be key. The Pat the Bunny, Pat
the Cat, Pat the Puppy books are fun because the baby gets to participate -
but I guarantee that they will get ripped apart.
My 14-month-old daughter loves books and loves to "read." I have been reading to her for several months. In choosing books I limited myself to books with cardboard pages because she used to grab the pages. I choose books with bright, clear pictures and not a lot of text, but text that is not too boring to me to read over and over and over and over. A Sesame Street book was her first favorite. She really likes books with songs and rhymes. Good luck.
Try "Oh Where, Oh Where Is Kipper's Bear" by Mick Inkpen and "Dinosaur's Binkit" by Sandra Boynton. We had the same problems with wiggling and found that books with flaps or other things to touch were very appreciated at story time.
I had so looked forward to reading lots of books to my baby and she wouldn't
sit still either! However, at about 14 months old, she suddenly started
bringing me books to read to her and holding up her arms to sit next to me.
It's been so great! So I'd recommend hanging in there for a couple more
months - she'll get less wiggly! Prior to that, I used to simply offer up
lots of books, sometimes just sitting next to her on the floor and reading
to her while she played with other toys. She definitely learned an
appreciation for books in this way and often "reads" to herself as well and
shares her books with her dolls. We're big fans of board books - all of our
other books are put away for when she's a bit older. She enjoys Dr. Seuss
(the Beginners series) and especially loves the First ABC, Number and Word
Books. They're sold as a set from Right Start. She requests these most
frequently. The Clifford books are also fun and short enough for that short
attention span. Have fun!
My 1-year old is crazy for books, squealing "gok" dozens of times a day as he brings me one after another to read to him. His favorites are "lift-the-flap" books and others with mechanical interest. Good titles include Where's Spot?; Who Lives Here?; Where's Maisy?; the Furry Jungle series; Rolie Polie Olie--Polka Dot, Polka Dot; 1,2, Peekaboo; and Tulip Builds a Birdhouse. Ordinary board books that have consistently captured his interest (he's also very squirmy and lets me know immediately when a book is a dud) include: Is Your Mama a Llama?; Time for Bed; If You Were My Bunny; The Real Mother Goose; Jamberry; Polar Bear, Polar Bear; Bear on a Bike; the Max series; and most of the Sandra Boynton books--especially Moo, Baa, La La La and the Going To Bed Book. Besides flaps and things that he can move, what he seems to like best in a book is a perky rhyme, bold pictures--especially if they're tinted orange--and books with animals--though he seems to think Peter Rabbit is a disaster). We're sticking to board books for now, since he's prone to shredding thin paper pages.
My baby loves the four book series by Helen Oxenbury. Some of the titles are "Say Goodnight" and "Tickle, Tickle." They are board books (bigger size than most) with wonderful watercolors of babies doing fun things like playing in the mud or swinging. Oxenbury has many books, but this particular series is nice because of the ethnic diversity of the babies.
I have a 13 month-old. We really enjoy some of the simpler Dr. Seuss books--Mr. Brown Can Moo, Foot Book, ABC. There is a Harper Collins series of books that I have found at the library that have age-level labels on them. The pictures seem to engage my daughter and they are a great length. Plus, the language they use has lots of rhyming, which is good for young kids. Some of the titles are Baby Dance, Cow Moo Me, My Aunt Came Back. My daughter is also very into lift-the-flap books. I've gotten several of those at Target. In general though, my advice is read to her whatever you enjoy reading. It's not important that your daughter sit and listen to a whole story, just that she sees reading and language as fun to play with. Sometimes my daughter will listen to a whole (short) story. Other times she'll hand me a book, listen to 2 pages or want to read a certain page, and then hand me several other books for 2 p! ag! es of each as well. Also, we have books all over the place. Our daughter spends a lot of time looking through them, throwing them, pulling off the shelves, tasting them, and walks around carrying them. I quickly stopped worrying about keeping them in good condition and realized that if I wanted her to love books, we had to let her have access to them and explore them in her own ways.
Helen Oxenbury has a series of little baby books (two titles are "Tickle, Tickle" and "Clap Hands"). We found some of them at the Montclair Library, but I'm sure they're available elsewhere. They're short and simple with cute illustrations of chubby babies and toddlers, and you can act them out while you read them. My daughter loves them.
From the time my daughter was on the changing table, I read to her poems from a Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Lewis Stevenson. They're fun and the cadence is really catchy. Now my daughter can read them to me.
My daughter loves board books by Sandra Boynton. They're quite cute (But not the hippopotamus), and educational too (Horns to toes and in between, Opposites, Moo Baa la la
la). She has more than 10 books out.
For many, many months of my son's early life I read *On the Day You Were Born* just about every day to him. I don't remember the author, but it's easy to find. The paper-cutout illustrations are simple and clear, the text is beautiful. I believe that reading the same thing over and over is good for their little brains, so I recommend you find a one or two books you like and stick with them, allowing other books to cycle in and out. Don't worry about the wiggling; if she's not in the mood to be held, you can still read while she plays next to you.
Books to read a one year old: at this age my son used to love "Mr Brown Can Moo,
Can You?" which is by Dr. Seuss or one of his associates (Theo LeSieg?). This
books obliges the reader to make lots of funny sounds. Also in that same Seuss-type
series, there are the Foot Book, the Hair Book, the Eye Book, you get the idea.
And by the way, don't toss these out or give them away when you child progresses
to being read more sophisticated books. They will still come in handy when
the child is learing to read for her/himself.
We've been reading to our little one from birth
and she has more recently be interested in grabbing
books and backing up and sitting in your lap. (ahem...hint, hint)
She's almost 1 1/2 now but this has been going on
for the past couple of months. I've heard and used a
couple of suggestions myself for getting her interested.
* Try to read in down time when they're not too 'wiggly' or
antsy to run around. They are better able to concentrate on
the books and the experience of reading with you if they don't
have to get up and jump or climb or get out energy.
* Point to things and characters in the books as you're reading.
* Go at your childs pace. If they want to 'linger' on some pages
and check out the scenery, or go back and check out something you
already looked at...just go with it.
* Cue your child when to turn the pages by flicking the page or
by voice inflection. This seems to keep our little one interested
and makes the reading a lot more interactive.
* Have books that are easy to 'handle' for a smaller child, the
chubby books or the board books. This way, you don't have to worry
about a book being torn up or damaged and your child can handle them
any way they want.
* This last one has worked recently for me:
If your child starts to get antsy with the 'length' of the book try
'singing' the book. I know this works wonderfully with the Dr. Suess
Check with your local children's librarian for books that appeal to the little ones.
Try books with lots of rhyming or babies faces; my daughter's early favorites included
Jamberry (Bruce Degen), The Foot Book (Dr. Seuss), and Sheep in a Jeep (Nancy
Shaw). There is also the Harper Collins Growing Tree series of board books which carry an
age-appropriate designation (Wrapping Paper Romp in this series was another big fave).
Check out the Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. In addition to tips on
reading to kids, he provides a well annotated bibliography of good read-aloud
books for infants to young teens. For infants, one of his suggestions is to
just read out loud (nursery rhymes might be a fun start) while they wiggle or
move around the room. They will gravitate to you and the pictures when they
When my son was that age he really loved the Sandra
Boynton books, especially one called "Doggies" (or
something like that). "One dog. WOOF! Two dogs.
WOOF! Yap yap." etc. Best reading time was always
when he was getting sleepy, but those move quickly
enough that they kept his attention. "Pat the Bunny"
was another good one. So were any good rolling
rhymes. I highly recommend "Two Cool Cows" by Toby
Speed, for babies up to preschoolers. It's longer,
but mine loved the rhythm even when he was tiny.
Check out Baby Bounce at the Berkeley Library -- most of the branches have it, some in the day, and at 7 in West Berkeley. We loved it, though my daughter did a fair amount of wandering around. Books we liked: I Went Walking (I can't remember the author, sorry); Good Dog, Carl; books that were pictures of babies and little kids -- one was called "Happy Days;" some of Eric Carle's books; Brown Bear, Brown Bear; and the Architecture Colors, Shapes, Etc. We had to stick to board books because the rest got torn or eaten. Have fun reading!
I also have a wiggly 1 year old girl who was hard to read to. She enjoys
long leisurely lunches (an hour or so per meal!). So, one day it occured to
me that I could read to her while she ate in her high chair. This works
great. I pull my chair up next to her and hold the book out for her to see
and she really enjoys it (and continues to eat). As for specific book
recommendations I will also be very pleased to hear what others recommend.
I've been having a hard time finding very many that are age appropriate and
yet interesting to read. I have two I like now: "Olivia" by Ian Falconer
and "Way Out in the Desert" by T.J. Marsh and Jennifer Ward. You sing this
one to the tune of "Over in the Meadow," it's very fun.
When my oldest daughter was 1 year old, she and I really enjoyed the
board book version of "Goodnight Gorilla." Each time we turned to a
new page, I asked her to point to the gorilla (the gorilla is on every
As she became better at this, I asked her to find the balloon, the mouse
with the banana, the moon etc. This method of asking your child to find
things on the page may help to really engage her/him. So any book with
a consistent creature as a part of the images throughout the book may
help your little one to stay engaged (e.g., the grouchy ladybug).
Another wonderful and entertaining book by the Goodnight Gorilla author
is "10 Minutes 'til Bedtime." It also repeats a lot of critters but on a
more detailed level (so is probably better for an older child); and some of
the "Goodnight Gorilla" characters are in the background
on one of the pages. You can check out the author's web page at
http://www.hamstertours.com/ for the pure fun of it. Good luck!
this page was last updated: May 25, 2012
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