We all know that reading to babies is important, but just how exactly do you go about choosing a book for your baby? It seems ridiculous to think that there could be a difference between two baby books, and one might be better than the other, and yet there are several factors which should be considered. For the purposes of this piece, we will be considering babies as being any child up to 1 year old.
Firstly, you should consider what the book looks like. This is one of those times where you absolutely should judge a book by its cover. Choose books with contrasting colours and simple, large pictures. These are far more likely to grab your baby’s attention than a generic coloured book. Similarly, consider the type of material the book is made from. For very young children, consider cloth or material style books that allow the baby to touch the page and identify a distinct touch sensation. If not cloth or material, go for a hard cardboard book with stiff pages so that the book can be propped up.
If possible, try and choose books that have a rhyming style to their story. This allows you to read with a more natural flow, and your baby will pick up on this cadence more quickly than normal speak. Rhyming text forces us to read in a consistent pattern, and this can be particularly peaceful and soothing for babies. You will know that you are doing the right way when you start to hear your baby giggling away!
When considering the types of images in your book, look for books with images that are similar to things that the baby sees in real life. This could be a picture of a ball, if your baby has a ball, or a picture of a teddy bear if your baby is fond of a particular teddy bear. It could even be a picture of a bottle. Choosing images that match what the baby is seeing in real life encourages familiarity.
You could also consider books with pop up items that may be familiar to the baby. Again, these items should be things that the baby has seen before, like of a dog if the family has a pet dog. The important thing to remember throughout is that any reading to your baby will be beneficial. However, if the opportunity presents itself for you to choose a book that has more obviously colour contrasts, has more recognizable images or features a rhyme, then it could be worthwhile choosing that option.