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Reading Aloud to Your Baby

When reading simple books to your baby, don't simply read them. Unless he can see the pictures, reading aloud is just words in a vacuum to him. Sit your baby on your lap, point to the various objects shown, and name them two or three times. Take full advantage of the "cuddle factor": the opportunity books present to curl up with each other and share in the experience. Make reading a special quiet time for both of you.

Don't be enslaved by the text, which is the least important part of the book for infants and young toddlers. Your child may become bored quickly if you just try to read the words as written: "In. Out. Up. Down. Wet. Dry." Instead, encourage your baby to take part in the reading. In enthusiastic tones, talk about the pictures you both see: "The puppy's in the basket now. See? Oh, look. Now the puppy got out of the basket."

You might also ask for your baby's help in finding certain objects in the illustrations: "Do you see a mouse? I can't find the mouse." Even if your baby can't come close to naming it, he may very well understand what you mean and be able to point to it. If he doesn't, be sure to take the time to point it out yourself so that he learns the meaning: "Oh, there's the mouse!"

Don't become a fanatic about reading the pages in order. After all, books for infants seldom tell linear stories. Who cares if you skip a few pages-or even skip all the way from the first page to the last (or vice versa)? With books that have more text, don't worry about reading every single word, either. When your baby gets bored with one page, turn to the next. By six or eight months, he might start reaching out and trying to turn the pages, or at least grab the book, himself. Finally, if your baby wants you to read the book again after you've read the last page, by all means go ahead and do it.

More on: Babies

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bringing Up Baby © 1997 by Kevin Osborn. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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