Guest Post by Shellie Braeuner of Kids Audiobook Reviews
Read and speak aloud – Your baby is listening.
Newborn babies have been listening to the sound of human voices from the time they are in the womb and prefer that sound to any other. (In fact, newborn babies automatically recognize the sound of their mother’s voice minutes after birth, and they can distinguish it from other voices around them.)
There is an important developmental reason for why babies enjoy the sound of human voices – they need to listen to hundreds of thousands of words before they are able to utter even one.
Talking to your baby is vital. Eye contact while holding and talking to a newborn helps them bond and learn the importance of language between people.
Read Aloud to Baby and Help Foster Language Skills
Babies are never too young to enjoy picture books. They are designed with bright colors and simple language to engage young minds. It has been shown that children who are read to early have better vocabularies and do better in school. However, you are not locked into reading baby books.
Love to read the newspaper? Why not read the paper aloud to your baby? The wide variety of vocabulary adds to the words your child hears. It doesn’t even matter what you are talking about. Babies have no context for the words they hear. Instead, babies notice the context of what Mom says by her emotion.
Love to read novels? Why not share your favorite book with your baby? The rhythm of the words and your enjoyment of the story expose your baby to fine literature. Stay away from horror, suspense, or high intrigue around infants. They may not understand the words, but most young babies learn how to read their mother very quickly. Your stress, even when produced by an exciting story, will transmit to your baby.
Too Busy? Consider Audiobooks for Babies
Too busy to read? This is where audiobooks can help. While you are busy doing housework, or running errands, while your baby is playing, or even napping, audiobooks can expose your baby to the wonderful world of language. The beautiful thing about using audiobooks with a baby is that the baby doesn’t understand the words. So you’re not locked into picture books, or rhymes. You can listen to books that you enjoy and expose your baby to fine literature at the same time.
There are thousands of books available that you can share with your child. Choose books that you enjoy and your behavior will teach your child that sounds are pleasurable.
Look for audiobooks that have a lyrical, flowing quality by authors such as Shakespeare, Bronte, Austin, even Tolkien and Lewis. If these are not authors that you enjoy, play these audiobooks while your child plays, or even naps. If you play audiobooks while the child naps during the day, you block outside noise that might otherwise wake your baby.
Great Poets of the Romantic Age: William Blake, William Wordsworth, Percy Shelley, John Keats and others. Read by Michael Sheen
The Woman Warrior: by Maxine Hong Kingston, Read by Ming Na
A Tale of Two Cities & Great Expectations: by Charles Dickens, Read by Frank Muller
Pride and Prejudice: by Jane Austin, Read by Lindsay Duncan
Firefly Lane: by Kristin Hannah, Read by Susan Eriksen
The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette: by Carrolly Erikson, Read byMaggie-Meg Reed
Sweet Mandarin: by Helen Tse, Read by Liz Sutherland
Keeping Faith: by Jodi Piccoult, Read by Julia Gibson