The benefits of reading to children—even from a very young age—have been well documented. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents read aloud to their kids from birth. Reading encourages brain development, enhances social-emotional and communication skills, and is an important bonding activity between parent and child. To get the most out of story time, you’ll need a well-stocked library to choose from. What your library contains can be as personal as what you choose to name your baby, but to foster a love of reading in your child, consider the following tips.
You can’t go wrong with a classic. Generations of people have fallen asleep to the sounds of Margaret Wise Brown’s Goodnight Moon and sailed off with Max in Where the Wild Things Are, so there’s a good chance your baby will grow to love them, too. A good book of fairy tales or Aesop’s Fables will also go far in giving your library an old-school selection.
Buy some tough books. When babies first start to “read” on their own, you’ll be thankful for these sturdy, kid-proof books. Board books have long been a diaper bag staple and Indestructibles are a new kid on the kid-lit scene. Both can stand up to being tossed about, stepped on, and even chewed. Babies experience books in a much more hands-on way than bigger kids and these books will live on to tell their tales.
Consider your tastes. Speaking of old school, don’t discount books that were special to you growing up. As your child grows, they will delight not only hearing you read from your favorite Little Golden Book, but also in hearing how you used to sit on your grandma’s lap for story time. Keep in mind, too, that your child will hit a stage when they’ll want to be read-and-re-read the same book in a loop. You’ll enjoy this phase more if you have a few go-to favorites to choose from.
Go new school, too. Thirty years from now, you might be reading Mo Willems's books to your grandkids remembering how Knuffle Bunny was a new-to-the-scene character when your kids were small. Other modern-day favorites to consider: the Llama Llama series, The Day the Crayons Quit, and the Pete The Cat series.