Read­ing to infants is an impor­tant part of their devel­op­ment. Stud­ies have shown that read­ing aloud to chil­dren from an ear­ly age helps them with lan­guage acqui­si­tion, lit­er­a­cy and even social-emo­tion­al devel­op­ment. That’s why it’s impor­tant to con­sid­er how you can incor­po­rate books into your infant care pro­gram. This blog post offers some tips on how to choose books for infants in child­care settings.

How to Choose Books for Infants

A key ele­ment of choos­ing books for infants is under­stand­ing what makes a book appro­pri­ate for young chil­dren. Here are some tips for select­ing the best books for your infant care program:

Expand the Story and Baby’s Vocabulary

Word­less or near-word­less books are great because they allow you to tell the sto­ry and extend the sto­ry, and they give babies a chance to explore the illus­tra­tions. This type of book also allows you to intro­duce new vocab­u­lary words as you tell the story.

Ensure Text Placement Does Not Interfere with Illustrations

When choos­ing books with text to read to infants, find those where the text is placed on a sep­a­rate page from the illus­tra­tions. This pre­vents the text from inter­fer­ing with the illus­tra­tions and allows babies to explore each pic­ture sep­a­rate­ly. The text should also be large enough so that babies can eas­i­ly see it from a dis­tance, but small enough that it does not over­whelm them when look­ing at the pic­tures up close. 

Utilize Rhymes, Songs, Fingerplays, and Fun Language

Rhyming sto­ries, songs and fin­ger­plays all help stim­u­late lan­guage devel­op­ment in infants. Look for books that use fun lan­guage and play­ful rhymes so babies can learn new words in a fun way.

Image of woman reading to children

Ensure Safety of Books Given to Babies to Hold and Play With

Babies love explor­ing things with their hands, which means you will want to make sure any book giv­en to a baby is safe. Look for stur­dy board books or fabric/cloth books specif­i­cal­ly designed with babies in mind (round­ed cor­ners, no remov­able pieces). 

Choose Books with Primary and Contrasting Colors in Illustrations

To keep infants engaged while read­ing aloud you will want books with illus­tra­tions that are bright and bold — look for pri­ma­ry col­ors such as red, blue, yel­low or green as well as con­trast­ing col­ors like black and white which can help draw baby’s atten­tion toward impor­tant ele­ments with­in each page illustration. 

Handmade Books of Family Photos or Photo Albums of the Baby’s Family & Home

Using hand­made pho­to albums or books made from pho­tos of the baby’s fam­i­ly and home can pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty to bring the baby’s home into the child­care set­ting. These can pro­vide com­fort and famil­iar­i­ty while also rein­forc­ing con­cepts such as fam­i­ly mem­bers’ names and roles with­in the fam­i­ly unit—all while pro­vid­ing visu­als of famil­iar faces and places!

Choosing Appropriate Books is Essential

Choos­ing appro­pri­ate books is an essen­tial part of pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty care to infants in child­care set­tings. By pay­ing atten­tion to these elements—expanding sto­ry lines; text place­ment; rhymes; safe­ty; col­or choice; per­son­al­ized content—you can ensure your infant care pro­gram has engag­ing read­ing mate­r­i­al. Read­ing aloud encour­ages lan­guage acqui­si­tion, lit­er­a­cy skills, social-emo­tion­al learning—all while fos­ter­ing a love of lit­er­a­ture! Start off strong by care­ful­ly select­ing age-appro­pri­ate stories!

Learn more!

For more infor­ma­tion on infants and pro­mot­ing ear­ly lit­er­a­cy, check out our course Infants in Child Care.

Inter­est­ed in learn­ing about fos­ter­ing lit­er­a­cy in preschool­ers? Check out our blog “Why is Lit­er­a­cy Impor­tant in Preschool?

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