If you want to buy books, a book shop with a spectacular children’s section will have the widest choice, but you can pick up second hand will have the widest choice, but you can pick up second hand books at jumble sales, charity shops and weekend markets. It’s worth checking out book clubs and internet retailers which often sell books at discount prices. Encourage family members to purchase books as gifts, or try swapping with friends, but don’t give away books your child really enjoys.
It’s important to find a special place for children to keep their books. It should be somewhere they can reach easily, so a low shelf is ideal. You could use a study box or basket as well.
With an overwhelming number of books to choose from, picking the right ones can be daunting. Books for this age group need to be tough. Babies explore by touching, pulling, shaking and chewing. For children under six months choose cloth books or plastic bath books. Newborn babies enjoy books with pictures of faces as well as bold patterns with sharp outlines and contrating colours such as black and white. For babies and toddlers who are just starting to talk first word books are ideal. Board books are also a good choice for older babies and toddlers, as the pages won’t tear and are thick enough for them to be able to turn. Get toddlers involved with books which feature noises, textures, tabs, flaps to lift and holes to peep through. They are fun to explore and help to develop a toddlers sensory awareness. Try some simple information and concept books which feature and introduce subjects such as animals, farms, colours, size, colours, numbers and counting.
For older toddlers, try adding in folk tales, fairy tales and animal stories. These need to be simple with lots of bright, clear pictures. Look out for stories that repeat catchy, rhythmical phrases over and over again, as these give the child something to listen out for and help them to see language as fun. Remember though that some fairy tales can be scary for children, so always stop reading if a child seems scared or disturbed by the story and rather choose something else to read together.
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