Birth to 12 Months
Read to an infant, and at best you'll get gurgles of interest. But if you're tempted to skip books at this stage, don't. Reading aloud helps your baby find patterns in the sounds he hears. The goal? To boost his understanding of the structure and uses of language.
Easy Skill Boosters
Choose chubby books. Bring home cardboard books. The bold graphics will catch his attention and develop his eye muscles. And don't forget about textured books.
Arrange outings. Head to the grocery store or the playground, and talk about whatever is new-like the breeze on your baby's face. You're introducing the rhythm of language and nurturing his interest in the outside world.
Play pat-a-cake. Nursery rhymes are a playful way to model language. Those that include hand movements are especially good for catching your baby's attention.
Say it again. Repetition is how little ones learn. Watch passing cars from a window, and as each one goes by, ask, "Is this Daddy's [or Mommy's] car?"
Try word games. Introduce words in a fun, predictable way. For instance, ask, "Should we have spaghetti? Should we have zucchini? Should we have meatballs?"