I am very proud to be part of the raising readers program through my doula practice, Mothers Moon. When a mother chooses me as her doula, I present her with a beautiful canvas tote with a selection of books, a growth chart, and information about the raising readers program.... a helpful start for her child towards reading and a love of stories.
One of my favorite books in the tote is, Here's a Little Poem, by Jane Yolen. It is recommended for children ages newborn to 6 months
This exuberant celebration of poetry is an essential book for every young one’s library and a georgeous gift to be both shared and treasured. Raising Readers has selected this book because we are told that there are so many ways in which poetry is good for us and for our child's developing language skills. Not always, though, are poetry collections so filled with sunshine, laughter, ice cream and bright faces as HERE'S A LITTLE POEM. The selection committee took an instant shine to these family-friendly poems and their glowing illustrations by Polly Dunbar. We hope you read aloud from this collection for years to come. With thick books like this, it is sometimes intimidating to get started. But with this collection, you can open up to any page and start reading. Don't worry if the poem seems too complex for your young reader. Reading to babies is about them hearing the comforting sound of your voice. Hearing new words arranged in a poetic form only makes your voice more compelling and their small brain more engaged. So read away—you might just have fun too.
Another favorite is Tomie's Mother Goose written and illustrated by Tomie De Paola, and recommended for children 6 to 18 months old.
This is a board book edition of the classic Mother Goose treasury presents twenty-four entertaining nursery rhymes that bring to life Little Miss Muffet, Humpty Dumpty, Little Boy Blue, and other favorite characters. raising readers has selected this book because the program always likes to include a collection of classic nursery rhymes. Sometimes people wonder if nursery rhymes are still relevant today, but with so many books for children based on these rhymes out there, the selection committee still finds them a valuable read-aloud for babies and toddlers. The committee liked this collection because it was in a sturdy board book edition and because the illustrator chose to depict children of different ethnicities in these classic English rhymes. If your young reader continues to like this collection as they get older, you can ask questions about the objects on the page like, "Where is the cat?" or "Who is wearing a pink dress?" and so on. Until that point, though, reading aloud nursery rhymes is simply about letting children hear your voice and the interweaving rhythm and rhyme of Mother Goose. There are many finger plays or movements of your hands that go along with Mother Goose rhymes. Ask your local librarian for a book that has finger plays in it or attend story hours at your local library where librarians often demonstrate those finger plays.
Babies love the sound of a reading voice. Reading aloud to infants stimulates brain cell growth and the formation of valuable learning connections.
What's beginning with language at:
2 months - Cooing (making long vowel sounds)
4 to 6 months - Babbling (adding consonants-even ones they never hear)
7 months - Recognizing what sounds familiar and what doesn't
8 months - Assigning meaning to words
What works when reading to newborns to 6 month olds:
Read anything you enjoy, as well as their new books.
Sing and say rhymes.
Gaze at each other.
Respond to their cries, coos, smiles, and movements
Gently touch, hold, and stroke them.
What 6 months to 1 year olds like in books:
Brightly colored board books.
Putting books into their mouths.
Pictures of familiar objects.
Photos of babies.
The raising readers program promotes reading aloud to children in Maine ages birth to 5 years, by providing beautiful new books to give to children. For newborns, raising readers has canvas totes with books available through Maine hospitals who provide birthing services, birth centers, midwives who attend home and birth center births, and adoption agencies. raising readers is a community partnership and works with other child health and community literacy initiatives, with a statewide advisory committee to help coordinate these activities, a collaboration of Maine's two largest health care delivery systems, MaineHealth and Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, and is generously funded by the Libra Foundation.
Please visit www.raisingreaders.org for more information.