Baby Read Alouds: 4 Board Books for Your Collection

While we all know the benefits of reading to your preschooler and school-aged kids, you don’t have to wait until your children are able to walk and talk to begin instilling a love of reading.

Reading aloud to your baby teaches them about communication and language, helps to build their memory, listening, and vocabulary skills, introduces concepts such as shapes, colors, and letters, and is a wonderful way to bond at bedtime, or anytime of the day.

Board books are wonderful for babies and toddlers because they are sturdy and easy for little ones to hold, plus they can stand up to teething, drooling, and sticky little hands better than traditional books. Bigger kids who are just learning to read enjoy them as well, since they generally have lots of pictures and basic words that are suitable for beginners.

Looking to start a small home library of board books for your tiny tot or the whole family to enjoy? Here are a few of the must-have titles you should add to your list:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

by Eric Carle

First published back in 1969, this board book is a beloved favorite of many parents and even grandparents. The simple story told using Eric Carle’s unique illustrations has sold more than 29 million copies and been translated into more than 45 languages.

Whether you are unfamiliar with the book or perhaps need a refresher, the story begins with a small egg on a little leaf. A very tiny, very hungry caterpillar emerges from the egg and proceeds to look for things to eat.

As he eats his way through a smorgasbord of foods, from fruit to cake to sausage and more, even babies will be captivated by the colors in the collage-style artwork of the author. The varied page sizes help young children begin learning the concepts of counting and quantity, and the holes running through the pages where the caterpillar has eaten are a wonderful sensory feature all ages will enjoy.

Of course, there is a delightful surprise at the end of the book as well, when the now very big and fat and full caterpillar spins himself a cocoon. You and your children will find this book as irresistible as the caterpillar found, well… everything!

Good Dog Carl 

by Alexandra Day

Of course, you would never leave the family dog to babysit your child, but in this whimsical board book, the mother leaves their faithful Rottweiler, Carl, in charge of baby Madeleine while she goes out.

As soon as the mother is gone, Carl helps the baby get out of her crib. They proceed to jump on the parents’ bed, play with her makeup, slide down the laundry chute, and even swim in the fish tank. After these adventures and more, Carl and the baby cleaned up the mess and got the baby back into bed before the mother got home.

What's particularly enjoyable about this book is that it is a true picture book. There's almost no text, so you get to tell the story in your own way. This also encourages pre-reading, where children tell stories based on the pictures they see.

Goodnight Gorilla

by Peggy Rathmann

The zoo’s security guard tells all of the animals goodnight at the end of his shift. He doesn’t realize that after he said goodnight to the gorilla, the ape stole the watchman’s keys and let itself out.

Following the guard through the zoo on his evening rounds, the gorilla unlocks each cage. The animals parade behind the security guard, following him all the way home.

This board book also has limited words and tells the bulk of the story in pictures, allowing you, the reader, to tell a story as serious or silly as you choose. Babies will love hearing all of the animals’ names and looking at the vibrant pictures.

Orange Pear Apple Bear

by Emily Gravett

In this charming board book, only four words–“apple”, “pear”, “orange”, and “bear”—are used. However, the author plays with the words to create an engaging book that little ones will sit and listen to over and over.

By rearranging the words and designing illustrations that correspond with the text, this book can help young children learn the meaning of each word as well as colors and rhymes. The simple but enjoyable book can even help preschoolers begin to understand concepts such as parts of speech. For instance, one page shows a juicy orange and a bear, while another shows an orange-colored bear.

Of course, as with wordless board books, you can make up more of a story to go along with the pictures. This is especially fun as your baby grows and becomes interested in more detailed books.

These sweet books are all perfect for babies and toddlers. When seeking other books, look for large images with bright colors, familiar objects such as a favorite toy, simple stories, and basic rhymes. Chances are good that if you find a board book that you love, your baby will adore it as well.

What are some of your favorite board books to read to baby?

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Tags : books   board books   baby   

Maya Slavin
I have Orange Pear Apple Bear and it's so adorable and silly!