Why It’s Never Too Early To Start Reading to your Baby

So when do you start sharing books with your child?  Some parents read to their babies in the womb while a leading American literary expert, when asked the same question, replied “Honey, I’ll spare you the delivery but on the way back”.  Patsy Lyons from Tara Book Company tells us why it’s never too early to start reading to your baby!

Reading to your Baby

Bath books, Board books, Touch & Feelbooks are a great way to introduce books to your new baby. They can chew, splash and explore as they begin the early process of learning to love books.  For this age, books ideally should have big bright bold colours and clear uncluttered pictures.

You can extend the play activity by making sounds, using facial expressions and gesturing to show size and movement.  At an early age babies respond by holding the book, pointing to pictures that grab their attention and having a good chew too.

Reading a story is a wonderful way of talking to and playing with your baby.  It gives them an early introduction to communication and social skills, and you are giving them the most precious gift of all – your time.

maisys bathtime lucy cousinsRecommended Books for 0 – 6 months

Maisy’s Bathtime  (Picture Book)    

by Lucy Cousins

Maisy, the loveable little mouse, is preparing for a bath when Tallulah arrives and wants to play. Tallulah will have to come back later – or will she?

Guess How Much I Love You (Board Book) 

guesshowmuchiloveyouby Anita Jeram 

‘I love you right up to the moon – and back.’

The story of Little and Big Nutbrown Hares’ efforts to express their love for each other has become a publishing phenomenon, selling more than fifteen million copies worldwide.

Reading to your 6-18 month old

Picture books with short text, Lift the Flap books, Nursery rhymes  are good for 6-18 months. Pick books that are well illustrated and ones you will enjoy as well.  Playing and reading with books shouldn’t be confined to certain places or times, books can be enjoyed everywhere, bathroom, bedroom, playroom and even the car.

The physical contact of your baby sitting on your lap while you read aloud is a reassuring and pleasurable experience for both of you.  Children can experience worlds and lives beyond their own through stories.  It helps them cope with different emotions such as fear and anxiety while being reassured in a safe and secure environment.

You can help and encourage them to link the pictures to the text and the spoken word by pointing, asking and answering questions.  Predicting what will happen next will add excitement to the story.  Be sure to praise them when they point to a picture, turn a page or make an effort to copy your sounds.

Rhymes are an essential part of literacy development, repetition enables children to memorise sounds and words.  They encourage and develop listening skills, increase their attention span, stimulate and stretch their imagination.

Recommended books for 6 – 18 months

I Kissed the Baby (Picture Book)  i kissed the baby mary murphy

All the animals love the baby – and so will you!
“I saw the baby! Did you see the baby?” “Yes! I saw the baby, the teeny, weeny thing.” “I tickled the baby! Did you tickle the baby?” “Yes! I tickled the baby, the wriggly, giggly thing!” Join in the fun in this shout-out-loud picture book for the very youngest of children.

Bedtime Rhymes (Board Book)

The Usborne Bedtime Rhymes is a nice book to share at bedtime.

usborne bedtime rhymesFeaturing six rhymes by Sam Taplin and featuring artwork by Anna Luraschi, this book aims to have babies and young children ready to cosy up at the end of a long day.

A Lifelong Love of Reading

Developing a love of books with your child not only gives them a lifelong love of reading, it is a proven fact that early introduction to books gives children an advantage in school with vocabulary, literacy, comprehension, numeracy and social skills.

Try to read to your baby every day even if only for a few minutes, have fun with Please be Quiet !  or make lots of farm animal sounds with Webster J. Duck.

Most of all, have fun!

taralogo06Tara Book Co. are based in Kilcolgan, Co. Galway, Ireland, Visit them online at or tel: (091) 777005

Do you read with your baby? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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This website was created by Jill Holtz and Michelle Davitt, both of whom are mothers of young children. Jill and Michelle decided to create this resource themselves, and launched in 2007.