I recently became a grandmother for the tenth time to a preemie. As the Early Literacy Librarian for our Library District, I know the importance of reading to your child from the day she/he is born. So after she was born, I wanted to share a book as soon as possible. But what to read, what to read? I have my favorites of course and I really wanted to read Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox, but could not find my copy anywhere. I finally decided to read ABC Baby Me by Susan Katz and on the second day after she was born, I read part of it to her in the NICU.
But there are so many more books to share with little ones, so here are a few that I like that I will be sharing with her. Counting Kisses by Karen Katz, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin, Jr., Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, Global Babies, All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri and Whose Baby Am I? by John Butler are available as board books in your library. Share one or two every day with your baby. You don’t have to finish it if the baby gets fussy or seems disinterested, but sharing even a part of a book a day helps develop literacy skills like helping your child understand the rhythm of our language, develop language and vocabulary skills and introduces them to the concepts of books – what they are and how they work. Just hearing your voice is often a soothing sound, and it can help in bonding.
In addition, singing to your child is another early literacy skill to share with your baby. Sing songs like Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Hush Little Baby, Itsy Bitsy Spider, and say nursery rhymes such as Jack and Jill, Hickory Dickory Dock, and Mary Had a Little Lamb. Look for books and CD’s at your library that have these included. There are lots and lots! And if you speak another language, find those songs and books that you remember from your own childhood to read and sing.
As this child’s parent, you are their first and most important teacher. Read and sing to them every day in those small moments of time. You are giving them important steps to their future!