By Jak Burke
It’s never too early to read to your baby. From its first few weeks of life your baby will be exploring its environment through its senses: taste, sight, sound and touch. It’s important then to select early books that stimulate these senses while holding your baby in a calm, loving embrace and reading in a soothing voice. But what books are best and when should you introduce them?
NEWBORN: an ability to see black, white, grey and eventually red at a close range.
Black on White by Tana Hoban
“In their first weeks and months, babies learn to use their eyes – actually their eyes “learn” how to see. While each eye has the physical structure it needs to begin to see normally, the two eyes haven’t learned to work together yet – and this “binocular vision” develops quickly throughout the first few weeks and months of life. In this critical first year, your baby’s brain and eyes begin to coordinate images and remember what they’ve seen. As a parent, you can participate in your newborn’s eye development and health as a normal part of your time with your baby. Proper stimulation can increase curiosity, attention span, memory, and nervous system development. So be sure to give your baby plenty of interesting things to see.” Bausch and Lomb
This book is perfect for your curious newborn. It features simple black illustrations on a white background a contrast that suits an newborn’s eyes as they develop. As you read along with the images of things like a leaf, key, ring, bib, and other common items, your baby will over time be able to connect the sounds you make to the objects and then to make the link to the actual words.
12 WEEKS + can see color and will be able to follow objects
“Over the next ten to 12 weeks, you will notice your baby following moving objects and recognizing things, especially toys and mobiles with bold, geometric patterns. As their color vision begins to develop, babies will see red first – they will see the full spectrum of colors by the time they reach three months of age.” Bausch and Lomb
Colors by Little Scholastic
The book works like this: a cartoon animal is depicted in one color, followed by another animal in the same color but with a detailed surface for touching. Stimulates the infant’s ability to distinguish colors and to touch the book.
6 MONTHS: ability to see 20/20
“By six months, your child’s vision can already be as good as 20/20, which is what we commonly think of as “normal.” You’ll see how eyesight becomes a crucial element in your baby’s ability to coordinate full-body movements such as standing and walking.” Bausch and Lomb
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This classic children’s board book has everything: colors, great images, collage layout and multiple objects, sequence and a great story to boot. Your baby will begin to enjoy the rhythm of the tale. The words are rich and lyrical with the value of repetition great for audio and memory skills. The Very Hungry Caterpillar will be a familiar ‘keeper’ book – one that your toddler will enjoy pulling out time and again for a bedtime read for years to come.
8-12 MONTHS: touching, grabbing, responding to prompts, interaction
“From 8 to 12 months, the connection between eyes, movement, and memory is strong as your baby approaches his or her first birthday. In the past year you’ve probably noticed tremendous improvements in your baby’s attempts to roll a ball, pick up small toys and objects, and feed themselves foods like cereal or sliced fruit. Activities that encourage hand-eye coordination, like playing with stacking boxes and rings, blocks or snap-together toys, will help strengthen your baby’s ability to see an object, touch it, and remember things about it.” Bausch and Lomb
Slide and Find Animals by Roger Priddy
SLIDE and MATCH: This book is a great peek-a-boo book that your baby will delight in discovering over and over again. The images are beautiful and the animals will be engaging for your infant. They also develop the parent and baby theme, a concept that your developing child will eventually identify with.
Lamaze Cloth Book, Captain Calamari’s Treasure Hunt
EXPLORE: This cloth book is a perfect ‘grabber’ one that your baby will want to snatch up and explore. The large pages are easy for little fingers to pull apart. Each page guides the child on its own journey of discovery culminating in a surprise mirror at the end. Plus there is a range of these books on different themes so if junior wants more you can add them.
Baby’s World: Touch and Explore, Splish Splash
BATH TIME: This is a great book for stimulating tactile senses. Each colorful page contains fabrics, a squeaky ball and an attached finger puppet. Baby’s World links the experiences in the bath, water, bubbles, soft towels with the book. Babies love connecting the proverbial dots! Board book not waterproof.
Lamaze Cloth Book: Peek-a-Boo Forest
FLAPS: A variation on the theme of animal peek-a-boo however the flaps on this book are perfect for small hands.
Tomy Lamaze Classic Discovery Book
CRINKLE: Soft cloth pages that crunch and crinkle as your baby snatches and grabs at the pages. An assortment of cute animals set to different terrains: woodland, night sky, aquatic.