It’s never too early to start reading books to your little ones, but where to start? It’s not uncommon for parents to feel intimidated by the idea of reading to an infant or toddler, especially one with hearing loss. Below are some tips for choosing books as well as strategies for making the most of your reading time.
CHOOSING THE BEST BOOKS
New Language Learners
- Look for images with bold, contrasting colors
- Find books with different textures to explore
- Simple, repetitive text is helpful
- Keep it short and sweet!
Experienced Language Learners
- Look for books that incorporate your child’s favorite things (animal, food, activity, etc.)
- Illustrations that appeal to your child are just as important as the story
- Introduce more stories that have a clear beginning, middle and end.
- You might want to start gathering books with similar themes to reinforce concepts and vocabulary.
WHEN TO READ
Some kiddos are naturally drawn to books and will quietly watch and listen while you read. Reading at any time of the day works for them! Other little ones are less inclined to sit still and so reading a short book while they are in their high chair during snack time or building it into your nap and bedtime routine might work best.
WAYS TO READ
Positioning: While reading, it is best if your child is facing you so that they can see your facial expressions and watch how you interact with the story. If you are using sign language, this is also better positioning for them to be able to see your signs. If you can’t sit face to face, don’t fret. You can use this time to practice listening without visual cues, and see what your child can understand through listening alone. Just be mindful if your child has a better listening ear and speak to that side.
Picture Walk: Instead of reading the words, watch your child’s interest in the pictures and describe what he/she is seeing. Follow their lead, let them turn the pages and focus ont he images that interest them the most.
Reading Text: Read the simple text of the book and then wait as your child processes the story and connects it with the pictures. You might point to the pictures and comment on what you see as well. Be sure to use a lot of inflection while reading the text to help keep your child’s attention. Sound effects are welcome!
Adding Props: Perhaps you are reading a story about a bear…you might want to have your child’s stuffed teddy join you. Maybe you are reading a story about pineapples you might want to have a pineapple nearby for your child to explore. Even if your little one isn’t ready to eat it, they can still touch and smell it.
Highlighting Words: For older children you can play fun games to highlight different words in the story. Pick a word to listen for and then have your child clap or stomp their feet if they hear it. Or act out different words in the story. Pick a word to listen for and then have your child clap or stomp their feet if they hear it. Or act out different words in the story with hand motions or whole body movements!
Repetition: Reading the same book over and over again in the different ways listed above helps a child fully experience and connect with the story. It is likely that your child will soon show a preference for certain books and before you know it, they will start ‘reading’ to you!
Don’t Forget! Bedtime routines often involve a bath, a book and then bed. Because many kiddos take their devices off during bath time, it can be tempting to leave them off during book time. Be diligent about putting hearing aids and cochlear implants back on for book time together! Reading books together is such an important language building experience, children need to have full access to sound to make the most of their time reading with you.
Looking for book recommendations? Here are some of our favorites!
Books You Can Sing
- Five Green and Speckled Frog
- Down by the Bay
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
- Rain, Rain, Go Away
- On Top of Spaghetti
- Five Little Monkeys
- There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
- Five Little Ducks
- The Lady with the Alligator Purse
- You Are My Sunshine
- Miss Mary Mack
Books 0-6 Months
- Peek-A-Baby by Karen Katz
- 10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes by Mem Fox
- That’s Not My… Touchy Feely Books by Usborne Books
- Black on White and White on Black by Tara Hoban
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Books 6-12 Months
- Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
- Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli
- Pat the Bunny by Dorothly Kunhardt
- Poke A Dot series by Melissa and Doug
- Where’s Spot by Eric Hill
- Books with Baby’s Picture or Pictures of Baby’s Family
- Books to read in the bathtub
Books 1-3 Years
- Jamberry by Bruce Degen
- Curious George by H. A. Rey
- Llama Llama series by Anna Dewdney
- Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban
- Uh Oh by Sutta Crum
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Books 3-5 Years
- National Geographic Little Kids Magazine
- Press Here by Herve Tullet
- ABC Books, like Eating the Alphabet by Lois Elhert
- Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
- Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson
Books 5+ Years
- Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty
- The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak
- Books with Short Chapters: Winnie the Pooh
- Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
- Tuesday by David Weisner
- Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
Looking for books that feature deaf or hard of hearing children or characters? Check out our post: Books Featuring Children or Characters with Hearing Loss for a list of print and digital books.