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A lot of fads have come and gone over the years that claimed to make babies smarter. But toys, videos, and games still take a back seat to one time-tested brain builder—reading. While it may be some time before your child will be reading on his or her own, reading from infancy offers an array of benefits, from bonding to building early literacy skills.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages doctors to speak to parents about the importance of reading aloud to children every day. But what books are best? Here are some of our favorites for each age group:
At this stage, the book itself is less important than the time, affection, and stimulation that goes along with it. Look for big, colorful images, durability (there’s a high likelihood that the book could become a teething object), and a story you’ll enjoy reading aloud.
For more great titles for infants, visit BestBooksforBabies.org.
At this age, your child will recognize that books contain interesting pictures and stories and may invite you to read. On the other hand, toddlers may also have strong opinions on what to read. You may find yourself reading the same book again and again, so try to bring home titles that are fun for both of you.
The right mix of fun characters, striking images, and subtle lessons can make for a great story in a preschooler’s eyes. Kids this age often want to turn the pages themselves and may reject board books. A roll of clear tape is a handy back-up for this time of fine motor skill development.
Because kindergarteners are beginning to read and have longer attention spans, they might enjoy books that tell more complex stories. It’s great to share books you remember from childhood, but don’t forget to invite kids to select titles based on their interests too.