The Right Books to Read to Baby

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New research says pointing to items while reading aloud helps little ones make important connections.

Reading to Baby is great for his development, but think again about what you’re reading, new research says.

Researchers from the University of Florida conducted baby studies to learn just how much babies retain from books read to them. The intent was to find out if certain types of books might lead to “higher-quality interactions and increased learning.”

The results of the studies showed that books with clearly labeled faces or objects provided higher quality interactions with the babies. Babies also responded to characters with names.

If you have a baby, you probably have baby books at home. Pick the ones in which items are labeled so you experience point-and-name reading. If names aren’t in the book, simply make them up — and go a bit further. Instead of pointing to a duck and just saying, “duck,” give the duck a name, for instance, “Fred, the duck.” Giving each animal (especially those of the same kind) a different name helps your child develop his attention and his ability to learn the difference between all the characters in a story.

Ready, set? It’s lap time!

The “Right” Books for Babies feature labeled items. Here are some to consider:

Baby Faces: A Book of Happy, Silly Funny Faces
by Amy Pixton
Workman Publishing; $5.95
Ages 1 – 2 years
This board book is part of the Indestructibles series and features baby faces labeled with emotions like silly, kiss, night-night, etc.

Baby’s Big World: Women Who Changed the World
by Alex Fabrizio
illustrated by Kat Uno
Little Hero; $8.99
Ages 3 months & older
Introduce Baby to different women such as Cleopatra, astronaut Mae Jamison, Queen Elizabeth I and more with simple text and colorful art.

Baby’s First Book of Birds & Colors
by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes
Charlesbridge; $7.99
Ages 3 months – 2 years
Baby learns all about birds including their colors and specific names such as the eastern bluebird, blue jay, scarlet tanager and more.

Baby Touch And Feel: Truck
DK Publishing; $5.99
Ages 3 months – 2 years
This board book is filled with different kinds of trucks with clear pictures. Each picture is labeled appropriately — fire truck, dump truck, cement mixer, etc. As an added bonus, little parts of the pictures have different textures for Baby to touch.

From Head to Toe
by Eric Carle
HarperCollins; $9.99
Ages 3 months – 3 years
Explore the different parts of your own body using the bodies of animals from giraffe necks, donkey legs, monkey hands and more.

Pop-Up Peekaboo! Baby Dinosaur
DK Publishing; $8.69
Ages 1 – 3 years
Baby dinosaurs are everywhere. In this lift-the-flap book, explore the different types of baby dinosaurs that Baby T-Rex finds.

The Sky Guys
by Madeleine Rogers
Button Books; $7.99
Ages 3 months – 3 years
This board books explores different birds found in the sky from a flamingo, owl, hummingbird and more.

Snuggle Bunnies
by Lisa McCue
Printers Row; $6.99
Ages 2 & older
Follow three little bunnies — Posy, Rosy and Dozy — as they prepare for bed.

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of three.

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