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When could you read with your baby?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Just curious - I thought I would be reading to DD all the time from the second she entered the world, but so far she really hasn't enjoyed it. At first the pictures in the books made her upset and she'd start to cry the second we opened a book. Then there was a short window when we could read a little bit. Now she really likes to hear me read aloud, but only if I'm holding a book and she's somewhere else. Otherwise she just wants to eat the book. When did your baby start wanting to follow along with a picture with you?
post #2 of 45


Same problem here, can't read 'cause she grabs it and eats it. I don't have it memorized yet! Even if I give her a toy while I read, she wants the book.
post #3 of 45
We really made a effort to read to V since birth. When she was too little to get it, I'd read to her while she was otherwise occupied- in a baby contraption, being held by others, etc. I'd also read aloud whatever I was reading online while we nak'd.

Once she became more mobile, we played with books more than read them- I'd read as much as I could, then when she'd grab the book for munching, I'd narrate what she was doing, using book terms- "Yep, that's the spine you're holding!"

Around 6 months she got a lot more interested in being read to; she's now 9 months, and will sit in her high chair or on a lap for 20-30 minutes at minimum while I read. She still likes to chew on books, but will now play by herself and just turn the pages of board books- it is the CUTEST thing!

The Read-Aloud Handbook is SUCH a wonderful book. It goes over all the benefits of reading aloud, gives some ideas for the best things to read (for young, young babies, read aloud whatever you're reading, but for books, stick to a few familiar titles and re-read the heck out of them.) I can't recommend the RAH enough!
post #4 of 45
I tried from the beginnning to regularly read with ds but he really had no interest (& would not sit still for it) until about 18 months.
post #5 of 45
DD, now 7.5 months, has been read to since birth and has gone through various stages of interest. Sometimes, she had to be holding another book to keep from chewing on the book being read to her. Other times, she would only read if she was on her belly. Repetition of books seems to help - her attention span seems better for books she recognizes. And being able to sit up had also improved her interest.
HTH!
post #6 of 45
i'm personally skeptical of reading with babies. books are important, expensive items to me... not something to give to a baby to chew on or rip! it's the sound of language that's important right now, not the idea of words on a page. i tell my baby stories, narrate what we're doing, or sing songs (either ones i know or ones i make up). we have a healthy love for books in our household and read constantly. i just don't know what i'd be accomplishing now by trying to read from a book to her. she will learn everything she needs to know about loving books from witnessing her dad and me reading, and being read to when she's old enough to respect books and actually be interested in lying or sitting with us to read them. right now they are really just objects to her, and i have no interest in having my treasured copies of my favourite childrens' books get slobbered on!

i guess that's a wierd stance... maybe it's cause i'm a medievalist and horrified by the cheap, throwaway nature of books in our culture? haha... most baby books seem pretty badly written to me anyway... i think i come up with better stories and songs myself!
post #7 of 45
SilverFish, you may want to (if you haven't already) check out The Read Aloud Handbook.

Being exposed to literal books from birth gives kids a tremendous boost in terms of vocabulary and in learning how to read themselves. Sticking to half a dozen titles for the first year or so helps keep the quality of the material up *and* engages babies more than 50 different titles of questionable quality.

As far as babies being drawn to books in a tactile sense, that's also beneficial in helping make books part of their daily lives and routine.

Vivi, just this week, has started going to the stack of good board books ("good" as in "well-written") and dragging them over to me. At 9 months, she doesn't have a word or sign for "Momma, tell me a story," so it means a lot that she has a way of communicating that she wants to be read to.
post #8 of 45
When DS1 was about 7 months old. And we started with touch and feel books. That was when I could actually sit down and read him a story where he was interested in it and engaged. Before then, he didn't enjoy it.

So far - DS2 who is only 5 months old has no interested in engaging...just eating the books! So I havn't been able to read them to him yet!

I have a few friends who insist they have been able to do it from the very start but I havn't found that possible at all yet! lol
post #9 of 45
My first wasn't interested in books until she was really able to focus on the pictures and make those symbolic connections in 2D and turn pages and do a lot of other things. Maybe a year? At least.

My second has loved the look of print, itself, since around three weeks, if not two weeks. I'm serious. She always loved being held and looking at books.

I was amazed, because I used to think that my mom was like, supermom for reading to me from my earliest weeks. But she said, "Well of course, you were just like DD2, you loved it!" So there you go.
post #10 of 45
I read to my Sweetie B like you, from around the time he was born. And he went through stages--wanting to eat them, sometimes listening to a whole story, listening to one story and eating all the other books, etc. When he turned 1 year, we received a new book in the mail and I read it to him. And he paid attention. And wanted to read it again. And again. And again. Ever since then he's had a voracious appetite for reading and at 2.5 will want to sit and read with us for ages.

My Baby G, though, at 11 months, is very much in the eating stage. Sometimes while I read to Sweetie B she'll pick up a board book and page through it, usually upside down. So cute!

Have fun reading!
post #11 of 45
Quote:
i'm personally skeptical of reading with babies. books are important, expensive items to me... not something to give to a baby to chew on or rip!
Silverfish, you need to look for better books, and get them as board books. Beatrix Potter, McCloskey... there are so many great books out there that you won't find on the display at Border's.

My children have ripped a page of .5% of their collection. They don't rip books. We read to them often. They learn to respect books and if they get rough I remove the book and they can play with board books.
post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by ErinYay View Post
SilverFish, you may want to (if you haven't already) check out The Read Aloud Handbook.

Being exposed to literal books from birth gives kids a tremendous boost in terms of vocabulary and in learning how to read themselves. Sticking to half a dozen titles for the first year or so helps keep the quality of the material up *and* engages babies more than 50 different titles of questionable quality.
i just am skeptical of the idea that my baby NEEDS to be read to (or be permitted to "play" with books to become familiar with them), or she'll never love reading or learn how to read or something. and i'm somewhat skeptical of a book called the "The Read Aloud Handbook"... books are an everyday, integral part of my life, i LOVE children's books and have a large collection, i'm not sure i need to buy a book to tell me how to read aloud. she will be exposed to reading and books without me making a specific, concerted effort to read to her every night at 6 months or whatever (which was more what the OP was about, i thought). right now she is in the stage of grabbing anything that is put in front of her and trying to stuff it in her mouth. sure, a board book could stand up to that kind of abuse, but i'd rather she chew on a toy and listen to me tell a story instead of trying to wrest pages from her hands.

anyway, this is very much just my opinion and maybe i'm not articulating it very well. i guess it's kind of like me putting dd on my back and just going about my day as opposed to "stimulating" her with baby stuff. does that make any sense?
post #13 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post
Just curious - I thought I would be reading to DD all the time from the second she entered the world, but so far she really hasn't enjoyed it. At first the pictures in the books made her upset and she'd start to cry the second we opened a book. Then there was a short window when we could read a little bit. Now she really likes to hear me read aloud, but only if I'm holding a book and she's somewhere else. Otherwise she just wants to eat the book. When did your baby start wanting to follow along with a picture with you?
8-9 months?

Then obsession with books around 13-14 months (like wanting to read every single book over and over and over and over, hahaha).

We're still doing board books, though, they are harder to destroy and eat.
post #14 of 45
DD - 2 months. DS - 10 months. (I could read a bit to DS before that, but that was when he was first interested enough to listen to a whole board book.)
post #15 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverFish View Post
i'm personally skeptical of reading with babies. books are important, expensive items to me... not something to give to a baby to chew on or rip! it's the sound of language that's important right now, not the idea of words on a page. i tell my baby stories, narrate what we're doing, or sing songs (either ones i know or ones i make up). we have a healthy love for books in our household and read constantly. i just don't know what i'd be accomplishing now by trying to read from a book to her. she will learn everything she needs to know about loving books from witnessing her dad and me reading, and being read to when she's old enough to respect books and actually be interested in lying or sitting with us to read them. right now they are really just objects to her, and i have no interest in having my treasured copies of my favourite childrens' books get slobbered on!

i guess that's a wierd stance... maybe it's cause i'm a medievalist and horrified by the cheap, throwaway nature of books in our culture? haha... most baby books seem pretty badly written to me anyway... i think i come up with better stories and songs myself!
i get your stance. respect of books is a big deal in the jewish religion (you drop it, you kiss it...you don't leave it open....you don't disrespect it in any way...etc etc....)so i definately try to balance that with the destructiveness of kiddos.
i think it's paid off. now at 12 months my babe looooves books and is actually gentle with them, although i wouldn;t have believed it could happen 6 months ago when she was trying to eat them and accidentally ripping any real books she got her hands on.)
probably at 11 months she started really getting into being read to. she turns the pages of the board books and when we're done i let her flip back and forth and randomly open pages and we talk about what is on that page. when she's in independent-play mode she actually spends alot of time taking her board books off the shelf, not to throw around but to actually look at. she can handle paged books gently enough that i don't keep them from her but we still work on how we treat books (put them on the table, being gentle, putting back on the shelf, if it's a torah book we kiss it...) in her toddler class at school i hear she's really the only one out of 8 that really gets into being read to.
i think alot of her interest has to do with her personality because it's not like i read a TON to her when she was little and when she was in the "eat the book" stage i pretty much dropped it and bought her a cloth crinkle book for the meantime.
post #16 of 45
My son was always into books, from infanthood on. My daughter could care less until 18 months old - she would actively run AWAY from us from abotu 12-18 months until she became interested. I don't think we ever read to her for more than 15-20 min a day (and often less than that) until just this year when she became more interested in longer books.

INTERESTINGLY, my son started reading at 5-3/4, and my daughter at 4 yrs +2 months has already read a few things on her own.

So, there's my anecdata. I would read when you want to and for as long as she's interested, but not sweat it at ALL if she's not interested for a long time.
post #17 of 45
I just read somewhere recently where someone said that a few torn books is well worth the price for literacy. I think it was Susan Wise Bauer maybe?

None of my three have been interested in really listening to a story until they were about 18 months. I'll admit that we didn't try very hard until then. But we've always had books available for them to handle and look at. There's a ton of good quality children's books available in board books now.
post #18 of 45
My DD was totally disinterested in me reading to her for the longest time it seemed like. She just wanted to grab the book and chew on it. It surprised me, because DS always loved being read to.

DD is 17 months now and brings us books to read to her, over and over again! She's pretty funny about it and will demand to be read to. This just started maybe a month or two ago. I'm so glad she enjoys it now, because I enjoy reading with my kids. My son has always loved having books around, and sleeps with them every night since he was about a year old. He's not reading on his own yet, but is in his bed right now pretending to read before he falls asleep.

He's never torn a page or even chewed on a board book. My daughter is much more destructive unfortunately, so I've had to really encourage her to be gentle with our books. We've had the same copy of "Goodnight Moon" for 5 years and it has been read probably thousands of times, and it is still holding up pretty well, but has gotten more abuse since DD started demanding it!
post #19 of 45
I started "reading" books to my daughter when she was about 5 months old. We started with soft cloth books with few words and interactive pieces, like a joey that can be put into/ taken out of the momma kangaroo's pouch. She loved these, and after a month or two of just those we started with a few classic board books. She was very, very engaged while I read them to her. When I would get to the end of the words on each page, she would turn the page herself. She would also point to the different characters/ animals/ objects as I mentioned them. By about 8 months she would crawl over to the bookshelf and grab her favorites, which she could recognize from the spines. At about a year she started pointing to letters and asking what they were, and by about 15 months she could tell you almost any letter of the alphabet if you pointed to it. She started reading early and is now (at 9) a very avid and above grade level reader. Her sister was never quite as into the books as she was, but definitely enjoyed being read to, especially non-fiction (a preference that started as an older infant and continues now at 8).

Aside from all the perceived benefits of reading to infants, it was definitely one of our favorite activities to do together, and there are many, many great books for young kids.

Our favorites included: Dr. Seuss books, Jamberry, Take Me to the Zoo, Goodnight Moon, and Eric Carle books (I actually didn't really like Eric Carle personally, but my kids loved them, especially #1).

Also, I made it a point to show my daughters not to chew/ rip books when we were only reading the cloth books, and we never had a problem with destructiveness towards books later. I honestly had more books ruined by my pets than the kids! Once they graduated to "real" books (non-board) we had plenty of accidental tears, but that's just part of life. Plus the binding on a lot of kid books (especially paperback) just doesn't stand up to normal wear and tear.
post #20 of 45
DS loved looking at high contrast books pretty early on. Around 3 months he started trying to turn the pages. From 4 to 6 months, there wasn't much reading going on as he was in the full-on "grab and eat" stage. I never really fought it and just let him gum up all our board books. Starting around 6-7 months he got out of that stage and started to really sit and listen to the books and started having favorite books and favorite pages and started smiling and reacting to his favorite parts.

Now at almost 14 he is in the "obsessed" phase and will spend hours flipping through his books looking for things that capture his interest. He also still loves being read to and has more and more of an attention span. For a while, between 10 months and 13 months or so, he would repeatedly bring more and more books and want me to start new ones all the time.

Anyway, back to your original question, in my experience 6-8 months seems to be the age when babies start actually enjoying books for more than their tactile value.
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