Reading from womb to 3-months old
It’s never too early to read! Babies recognise voices that they hear when they are in the womb. Reading to babies in the womb is not so much about cognitive development, but for parental bonding.
While it seems silly to read to infants, they love our voice and our presence! We can start reading to babies from 6 weeks old after birth. Give yourself and your new born some time to settle in first!
- Prop the baby up in a rocker, soft pillow or against your chest.
- Hold the book about 30cm from them.
- While reading, smile and interact with your baby every now and then. We are reading to them, not ourselves!
Vision is at a very immature level in new-borns but by two months of age, they are able to distinguish colours at adult levels. Some studies have shown that infants prefer patterned or bold colours over plain images. Choose books with bright or bold colours to capture infants’ attention and interest. Infants are also near-sighted until about 4 months old. Hence, choose books where images are quite large and non-cluttered.
Prop the baby up in a rocker, soft pillow or against your chest. Hold the book about 30cm from them. While reading, smile and interact with your baby every now and then. We are reading to them, not ourselves!
- Usborne Baby’s Very First Touchy Feely Book by Fiona Watt：A hardy board book with different textured patches
- 十个手指头和十个脚趾头 - 梅·福克斯/著：看一看不同肤色、头发、衣着、神态上各不相同的宝宝们有什么相同？借此和你的宝宝一起数一数脚趾头和手指头，增加亲子互动
Reading from 3 to 7 Months
Reading to children in the early years aids in their physical, emotional cognitive and socio-emotional development. Alternate between reading from the book and commenting or interacting with your baby. Not only does it build language and literacy, it also provides a great opportunity to bond with our children.
- Start early in inculcating reading habits into your daily routine. It is a great, quiet activity for winding down just before naps or bedtime.
- Don’t be too fussed up about finishing a book. If you notice that your child looks tired, try again when he or she is more alert.
- If you can manage, try to get books in the languages you would like to introduce to your child instead of only books in the dominant language used at home.
Babies usually enjoy books featuring other babies, animals, repetition or rhyme. Consider board books which are made of fairly thick cardboard material as they can withstand harsh treatment better. Or explore books with different textures that are great for sensory exploration. Your baby will enjoy reading the same book hundreds of times. Don’t worry about the need to have a large collection of books at home. Most of the time, the adult is the one who gets bored first, head to the library or borrow e-books from your local libraries! Not good at reading in another language? Look for e-books with narration.
- Stories about babies, animals , repetition, rhymes
- Thick board books
- Different textures, flaps
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr. ：Babies will love the animals, repetition, rhyme and simple illustrations.
- 藏猫猫 藏猫猫 - 五味太郎/著：一起跟着小老鼠玩藏猫猫，发现一个接一个的惊喜，引发孩子的想象力
Reading from 8 to 18 Months
From 8-18 months, you see rapid development in language, speech, attention and memory. As the child develops a mind of his/her own and preferences, make reading sessions a lot of fun and include some play elements in it!
- Toddlers find it hard to resist a little drama. Read slowly in different tones, exaggerating sometimes with gestures.
- Use toys or props to make reading more fun and interactive.
- Make sounds and noises of the characters or objects in the book!
- Reinforce learning by pointing out objects that they see in their day-to-day experience and in the book. Look for books with simple questions or ask your own questions. Give your child time to respond.
In toddlerhood, children start building a sense of autonomy and initiative that will influence their behavior into later years. You can encourage them to take initiative through child-led reading. Let your child take as long as he or she likes while reading, flip the pages forward, backwards, or talk about the pictures.
At this age, your child will still enjoy books with good rhyme and repetition, which helps them learn. At the same time, as their vocabulary expands, choose books with simple illustrations where you can identify the pictures. Choose content about daily life that your child can identify with and topics that your child is interested in.
- Stories about food, transport, animals and other toddlers
- Books where you can point out pictures and describe them
- Sturdy board books
- Lift-the-flap books
- The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin：Beautiful, sweet, and poignant, this is a wonderful book for bonding with your child
- 妈妈买绿豆! - 曾阳晴/著 ：**经过孩子与母亲一起逛街，买绿豆，等十分生活化的故事，带出母子深厚的亲情和传统的文化生活
Reading from 19 to 36 Months
An important developmental task at this phase is autonomy. As toddlers gain control of their limbs, and their brains develop, giving them opportunities to explore reading on their own is important.
- Language development progresses to phrases or sentence-forming in this phase. Give your child time to describe the pictures, forming sentences along the way.
- Help your child learn to understand emotions and social interactions by discussing about them. For instance, in preparing your child for school or a trip to the dentist, you can read books on it and identify that the character is feeling anxious. Putting a label to their feelings is an important first step.
- Incorporate play into reading. Re-enact scenes, characters or movement from stories.
Toddlers at this age are usually interested in learning about the world. Consider books with vehicles, food, land and sea animals, special occasions, and people working in their jobs.
- All types of print materials including magazines, brochures, or manuals, don’t limit to just books!
- Stories about vehicles, food, land and sea animals, special occasions, and people working in their jobs, emotions and friendships
- Llama Llama Time To Share by Anna Dewdney：Great for toddlers learning about friends playing together, sharing, and resolving conflicts
- 水牛儿 - 保冬妮/著：通过精美的插图，这本书讲述一个小学生放学，和妈妈在雨中撑伞步行回家，是个感恩又温馨的故事