Tales for my Niece

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My niece has just turned 4 months old a week ago, and my sister wants to instill reading habits in her. She asked me what books are appropriate for an infant.

Reading aloud to babies are very important, especially during infancy, not only because it can help instil reading habits, but also because at this stage, infants are very receptive to language and visuals. This is the time when neurons make connections, a brain process called “synaptogenesis”, very rapidly till the first year of life. Another process called the myelination continues and the neurons controlling hearing and vision become myelinated.

Repetitions are very important at this stage. I suggested her to get board books that have big, colorful images and have repeated words. Those which have textures for them to touch will be great too. These are some of my recommendations.

How to read aloud to an infant:

1) Place them on your lap (not on the bed while you read aloud to them. They need to be able to see the images and colors, and be able to interact with the book and you)

2) Read using different voices (maintaining an infant-directed tone); make it as interactive and interesting as possible

3) Allow them to turn the pages, touch and feel

4) Encourage them to ‘point’. Keep repeating your instructions and guide their little fingers. Repetitions will help register meaning to their brains.

Have fun reading to her sis! 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Tales for my Niece

    Storyteller John Weaver said:
    November 27, 2012 at 3:05 am

    A great post, full of excellent advice, Jee Wan! If I may reinforce some of your points, & add a little bit:

    * Start reading to your children before they can even crawl away!

    * Those board books are wonderful because they are somewhat indestructible, and therefore may be left around wherever the baby plays. I recommend also having picture books that can go back up on the shelf–or back to the library–when done. Although an infant will not understand all of the words, the bright pictures, and the sound of the parent’s voice reading, are very stimulating.

    * Read books you really enjoy, and read with expression! Convey how exciting the story is.

    * You can both lie down on a bed to enjoy stories, too: try laying on your back, with the baby tucked in between your body & arm, head nestled on the crook of your arm (with bolstering pillows as necessary). You both have a great view of the book overhead, and the comfort of snuggling together–plus, your baby can “feel” your voice as well as hear it, through the vibrations in your body!

    * Take babies to storytimes at different libraries! Some libraries have a specific Baby Storytime, but don’t limit yourself to that event. As someone who conducts Toddler & Preschool Storytimes at libraries (and this also happens when I am storyTELLING at different event), I notice babies tend to be my best audience. Their eyes widen, and their gaze becomes fixed upon me, as I read with expression & animation. It’s not that most of the babies understand any of what is being said, but they are being exposed to reading, the patterns of language, and the joy of books.

    g1jeewan responded:
    November 27, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Lovely points there John! Especially the last one! Thank you!! Gonna make sure my sis reads this ;))

    Zz said:
    November 27, 2012 at 11:31 am

    Thanks sis! Am excited in getting those board books for her! 🙂 looking fwd to reading to her!! Xx

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