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Children’s author Emilie Buchwald said, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

Reading together builds cognitive skills, strengthens language development, and nourishes relationships. Follow these three tips to ensure your little one’s introduction to the world of the written word is engaging, beneficial, and fun for you both.

Hands- (and Mouth-) on Learning

For babies, every learning moment is a full-body sensory experience. Start with sturdy board books or books made of cloth – these give baby the freedom to explore their books in a developmentally-friendly way. Touch-and-feel books are a great option; finger puppets, soft fur, interesting textures, or sturdy flaps are all enticing. Fussing over torn pages and soggy covers isn’t fun for anybody, so keep treasured tomes out of reach and stick to stories made to be touched, tugged, tickled, and tossed.

Beauty is in the Eye of the Book-Holder

Babies spend most of those early days looking closely at the world and taking everything in. It’s the perfect time to direct that curious gaze toward a book! Look for stories with bright, beautiful illustrations. Familiar objects, strong contrast, and bold colors help your baby to focus their eyes and capture their attention. If the thought of page after page of primary colors has you groaning, don’t worry; there are thousands of tot-tested books with gorgeous, grown-up friendly art. Pick something you’re both drawn to!

Keep it Simple

How are the best baby books like baby attention spans? They’re both short! Long stories are a lot of information to take in, and too much text can detract from the illustrations. Favorite read-alouds are like­ly to be simple. Simple doesn’t mean dull, either. There are meaningful, entertaining, sentimental, and silly books about all sorts of topics that use few words to make a big impact. Some even do this without words at all! Rhythm, rhyme, and repetition are also fun for both listener and reader, and they help build important pre-reading skills like making predictions and memorization.

Now you’re ready to start stocking those shelves! Happy reading!