August 7, 2010 (10:08 pm)

Language Development (and Fun!): Reading To Baby Kamea

topics: Homeschool
by Kristen Suzanne

Research says that one of the best ways to encourage the growth of language skills is to read to your baby… from birth. It’s never too early. Apparently, this encourages language development. According to the book Baby Read-Aloud Basics, “… by age four, children who are read to are exposed to 32 million more words than children who haven’t been read books.” I don’t know how often you need to read to your baby to attain that, but anything is better than nothing and variety is important. To get started, here a couple of books I bought to start with Kamea (Herb The Vegetarian Dragon and That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals). Next up? The Twilight Series. I hope she’s Team Edward. ;)

What are your favorite books to read to your children?

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  • Sayward

    Well, you already have some of my faves! Here's a few more :

    Why War Is Never a Good Idea
    Hubert the Pudge: A Vegetarian Tale

  • Ag

    I don’t have kids yet, but I babysit my friend’s girls – and I love to read Purplicious to the girls. They love it too! It’s about how it’s okay to be different! And a very fun read for me as well. Thanks for your post & all the inspiration!

  • Rachel Ann Williams

    Our Daughter (she’ll be two next month!) really likes “Hush Little Dragon” it’s a cute take on the nursery rhyme “Hush Little Baby”

  • Lauren519

    Yay!!! I already bought my baby 2 books, they are aimed for development skills, one is all black red since they respond to those colors!!! I’ve gotta get the 2 you mentioned, since my little one will be vegan too!

  •!/Jess26ica Jessica

    I read the Baby Einstein books to my son since birth and he was an excellent reader since age 4. He’s 5 now and stuns me at what he is able to read. :)

  • Jamie

    I’ve been reading to my son from birth, every night before bed. I also have talked to him constantly, always narrating what I’m doing (mommy’s putting lotion on your arms… mommy’s making us toast with almond butter, etc). If we’re driving I point out things (cars, signs, colors, etc). Some people find this odd LOL. But, he’s three now and everyone comments on how vocal he is. He speaks pretty clear for a three year old and has a large vocabulary. I’m always shocked when people are shocked that they can actually have a conversation with him. :) I like to think it’s because we’ve always read to him and talked to him, never underestimating his ability to understand. I also take him to the book store to pick out a book every month and we constantly go to the library.

    One other thing, I remember your post a while back asking for any new mom advice. The thing that has helped me on numerous occasions is that I document everything. I keep a journal for him and write everything that’s happened that day (food he ate, mood, sleeping, etc.). My son has numerous food allergies & tends to get low iron stores. This has really been a life saver on many occasions (tracking down patterns).

    Congrats btw! I’m so excited for you. I’ve so enjoyed watching my lil’ man grow. It’s truly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever been a part of! :D

  • Msgreen

    Did I miss your birth story? Was it published on another blog?

  • Kristen Suzanne

    No, I haven't finished it. It'll be on this blog when I'm done with
    it. I have so many other things I have to tend to.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Cute! Thanks!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Cool. Sounds like a good one. :)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Thank you!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I just bough the Hubert book. Only 6.66 :) Thx!!!

  • Sarah Anne

    My mother is a Reading Recovery specialist, and has been a 1st/3rd grade teacher for 30 years and says the BEST THING you can possibly do, is to read every day to your child. I have friends who have started a bedtime routine at night, reading, singing a song, then bed. My 2 year old neice now 'reads' to herself, flipping the pages and telling her own story. Mom gets SO excited, because it just shows how much they are paying attention – ALWAYS! I've put in a request with mom for some book ideas for you!

    Great work, Momma!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Oh excellent! Thanks for asking for me.

  • Felicity

    Yay! Stuff like this makes me happy! I'm a reading specialist and studying to become a speech pathologist so this is right in my field :-) You are doing Kamea a world of good by reading to her and talking to her constantly. The more language she absorbs now, the more she'll put out later!

  • Sayward

    The Frida one has *such* amazing illustrations! And of course, she's an awesome role model for little ladies. =)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I love that you talk and read to him. I
    sure it's why he is doing so great. I do the same. It's fun. :)

    Thanks for the journal tip.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Thanks for the confirmation!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I enjoyed the movie and I have the soundtrack so I'm sure I'll (I
    mean, Kamea lol) will enjoy the book. ;)

  • Lauren M

    I read to my babies when they were infants (and before for the second since I read to her big sister). I read those two books with my kids, also lots and lots of Dr. Seuss, Berenstein Bears (the earliest ones that rhymed) and other rhyming books with rhythm such as “Because a Bug went KaChoo” and “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.” As with with commenters, both my girls began “reading” to themselves long before they could even talk. The oldest who is reading 2 grade levels ahead, would baby-talk to herself in the same singsong voice she’d hear me use while reading. She’d look at a page, say a string of sounds, pause, turn the page and do it again, but differently. The youngest looked at books silently, and from age 2 until now at 5 falls asleep in a sea of books every night. She wants to read so badly like her big sister she even prefers looking at chapter books in bed though they have less pictures. Who knows what she’s actually seeing on those pages with just words. Guess she’s scanning for familiar letters and soon to be familiar words. The reading class I taught at a HS had teens in it who had never been read to as children. They weren’t even familiar with common-known fairy tales or fables. Very sad.

  • bitt

    I got the dragon book for my cousin's kid who is not even vegetarian but I am hoping to instill some early compassion lessons. :-)

    I am a HUGE kids' book buff. My favorites for wee ones:
    Dr Suess (great for rhyming which is rhyming which is super important literacy still

    Eric Carle (lessons in compassion and cool animal stuff): Brown Bear series, Hungry Caterpillar, etc

    Discovery books for little kids–teaches early nonfiction reading skills

    And one book I got for my friend's kid that she loves: Haiku baby

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Great list – thanks :)

  • Michaela

    Oh and music – music is wonderful. There is a brilliant CD for little ones – they love it and so do I. You can preview here:

  • Agnesjohnson42

    I used to read aloud to my son at every feeding. We read Alice in Wonderland and The Little Prince. Anything you read aloud to babies works. They just hear your voice and it works for them. Singing too is terrific.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I'll check it out. Thank you.

  • Anna @Tallgrasskitchen

    I have read to my 2 year old son everyday since he came home, and now he loves to look at books by himself, and he has most of our books almost memorized (and we have quite a few.) His language exploded at two, and I credit our reading. When he was a newborn, I read him longer more involved children's stories, like fairy tales and the Velveteen Rabbit. Once he was a bit older, we loved all of the Margaret Wise Brown books (goodnight moon, etc.), Their is a series of books called 'Foodie Babies”, “Eco Babies”, etc. that is cute. I love some of the old Robert McCloskey books – Blueberries for Sal, Make way for Ducklings. And our newest favorite is the Skippyjon Jones series – crazy books, but lots of fun, and the audio recordings read by the author are addictive.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    awesome! thanks for sharing!

  • Kat

    Haha, Twilight for babies. Whatever works :) Actually, I like to read whatever adult book I am currently reading for myself out loud when they are babies — seems to work just as well as any other book.

    Love having a lot of board books around for baby hands (and mouths). Here is a really cute one someone gave us:

    These are a few paper books we enjoy in our house:

    Well, really there are a lot of books that are currently enjoyed by my preschooler, but the books above are a few of the ones that I totally enjoy the message of with no reservations.

    There is a series of season books that I want to get. It is really neat, just pictures and you can tell your own stories. This one is Summer, but there is one for each season of the year.

    This book is my absolute favorite to read, the stories just roll off the tongue so nicely. Works well for older kids who can sit through a lot of text and fewer pictures (though little babies like Kamea will sit through most anything, too!) Mine has a different color.

    And all of the A.A. Milne books, of course! Love the poems and the Pooh stories.

    Reading to kids is so rewarding! I love that my daughter will ask to read stories all the time, and I think it is partly because we have been reading to her since she was born. It's such a great thing to do for your kids. I also take her to the library for story time, we have been going since she was about 6 months old when it didn't interfere with her schedule, like naps. Now she will want to read the same book over and over (her favorites are Olivia and Raggedy Ann), and if I get a word wrong she is sure to correct me!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Yay mommy! Love reading your story. How sweet and cute.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Ooh. I can't wait to check those out. Thanks for the links and for

  • Rachael

    We Have “This is Why I don't Eat Animals”. How is “Herb he Vegetarian Dragon”? Two of my favorites are “Our BIg Home” and “Library Lion.” My son is 3 and absolutely loves the little critter books.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I like them both. :)

  • Sewmouse

    Some of our favorites when my daughter was small were “The Velveteen Rabbit”, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”, “Bill and Pete” (all about a crocodile and his toothbrush), and the J.R.R. Tolkein Lord of the Rings series.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Lol Lord of the Rings… Now you're speaking my husband's language. ;)
    he's all over that!

  • sharanya

    Hi kristen:
    kamea looks adorable.My son loved goodnight moon,still does(he's6)Gina giraffe gets tucked in and almost all the barefoot books,i took the moon for a walk,bear on a bike,Cleo the cat,Listen,listen.,The animal boogie and one of my personal favourite is A Dragon on the Doorstep.
    Anything you like i am sure kamea will enjoy,they love being read to.
    have fun kristen

  • Swartzroping

    Graeme Base books are awesome, Uno's Garden, Jungle Drums, The Water Hole and more. They are beautifully illustrated with great messages. Uno's Garden is my favorite. It involves counting and has a beautiful sustainability message, plus a snortlepig! We have read since birth and everyone is amazed at our three year old's vocabulary. Good luck and enjoy.

  • teresa

    Susan Boynton has always been one of our favorite authors (in addition to Dr. Suess and Margaret Wise Brown) and one of her best books is called Barnyard Dance. It is one of my kids’ all-time favorites, and it’s so much fun for adults to read, too. Robert Munsch’s Love You Forever will bring tears to your eyes every time you read it, no matter how many times you read it.

  • bitt

    saw this on crooked mom mamma’s blog and thought of you:

  • Maida

    Hi Kristen,

    The author of this new kids book contacted me through my blog and it looks really cute. I think it's sort of along the same lines of “That's Why We Don't Eat Animals” but maybe a little less specific:

    She said it was great for vegan kids and the title (“Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice”) is so cute! My 4-year-old didn't have the attention span for “That's Why We Don't Eat Animals”, but she loves Herb. There's a whole line of those types of books that my kiddo likes: Benji Bean Sprout Doesn't Eat Meat, The Organic Adventures of Tucker the Tomato, Hubert the Pudge: A Vegetarian Tale.

  • Sayward

    Hey! The woman who self-published the book Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice just sent me a copy to review on my blog, and I totally thought of you! It's so so adorable and fun and silly, but with an underlying vegan/compassion message. And it's all about juicing! =D

  • Kateisfun

    This totally encouraged me to start reading again to my now-8-month-old… I stopped when all he wanted to do was eat the books a few months ago, but hey, at least he's getting super familiar with them that way! :-) My favorite is Goodnight Moon; I love Eric Carle; nursery rhymes, The Little Prince, The Giving Tree…

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Awesome. Thx :)

  • Amy

    We have also read to our now 3 year old son since birth and talked and sung to him almost all day long. I used to get some really funny looks at the grocery store as I counted the number of apples I was putting in my bag. I even had some people think I was talking to them. He is now quite the story teller and has a rich vocabulary. DH explains to him how everything works. In fact, one night he was smelling Daddy's toothpaste and said it smelled like nuclear fusion! He also knows the order of the planets. We planned a visit to a science museum and I wanted him to have a little background knowledge for the planetarium show about Earth. The only books I could find about Earth were about all of the planets. I thought he might not be interested and a little over his head but tried anyway. Boy, was I wrong! He loved the planet books so much that we read them over and over again until he had memorized them. He now knows the order of the planets, the names of the moons orbiting Mars and all about Jupiter's atmosphere. Never underestimate what a child can do!

    Now we have a second child about 2 weeks older than Kamea (love the name, btw) and she joins us for stories and songs before his nap time and she's so familiar with the routine that she now falls asleep almost immediately. I am amazed that she already recognizes this routine and knows it is time for sleep so now we just started a night time routine. (I definitely recommend reading Good Night Sleep Tight to learn all about how babies sleep.)

    OK so here are some of my favorite young children's books: Blueberries for Sal, Make Way for Ducklings, Big Kicks, Do Like a Duck Does, Llama Llama Red Pajama, The Hiccupotamus, Goodnight Moon, A Child's Prayer, I Like Myself, Quick as a Cricket, The Snail and the Whale, Night of the Moonjellies, Have You Filled a Bucket Today, Animailia, The Giant Carrot and The Jesse Tree.
    When she's a little older, I definitely recommend The Paper Bag Princess. It's a great book for little girls.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I LOVE THIS!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!! Cheers to you and your
    awesome family :)

  • Deeps

    I second the recommendation “Goodnight Moon”..something super special about the book that just have babies yes babies hooked. This was my gal's first book and came as a gift at her birth and she still loves it. I've been reading it to her since she was a few days old and now she is 22 months. The books is WORN :-) an excellent sign! Enjoy storytime with your little Kamea.

  • shannonmarie

    Goodnight Moon is certainly a good one, and a favorite of mine, too. I also like the Little Engine That Could, Are You My Mother?, anything Dr. Suess, and the list goes on … Right now, Hayden enjoys the interactive books like Pat the Bunny; It's a classic in this household.

  • Amelia Jensen

    My childhood books definitely shaped my own childhood and I'm loving going through these fantastic comments! I just came across this website and look forward to checking out their recommendations as well:

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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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