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Reading to Infants and Toddlers

February 2nd, 2016 · Bonnie T. · Staff Recommendations

The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging members to encourage reading to newborns. But what exactly should they be reading? And if your baby doesn’t understand the words, does it matter which books you read and how often you do it?

Dr. Pamela High is the lead author of a paper released by the American Academy of pediatrics recommending pediatricians invite parents to read aloud to young children “beginning in infancy” to encourage learning literacy and positive family relationships. According to Dr. High, “I think babies understand the emotion in the words that are being read to them very, very early.”

There are also benefits of prenatal reading. Your  baby will become familiar with your unique voice and when a parent takes the time to relax and read, and the expectant mother’s heartbeat and breathing slow down, the baby relaxes, too.

Research shows that babies can distinguish the mother’s voice from that of a stranger. Another interesting fact is that newborn babies show a preference for the rhythm and melody of a song or poem that they heard regularly from the womb. Familiar, rhythmic stories can sooth a newborn baby.  Another reason to read to a child and read often!

Where to start? The Harrison Public Library and the West Harrison Library have joined a nationwide program called 1000 Books Before Kindergarten which encourages parents and caregivers to provide positive nurturing early experiences through reading aloud to their children regularly. Our kickoff programs are on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Tuesday March 2, 2016. Come over to either branch and celebrate. Sign up for our 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program while you are there! We will give you a reading log and a bag to fill with books. 1000 books may seem daunting, but it is totally doable! We can help and show you how.

If you were wondering about which books to read, here are just a few of my suggestions.


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