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.
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!
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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