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Baby Read-Aloud Basics

Read to Your Baby

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Cover art of Baby Read-Aloud Basics

Baby Read-Aloud Basics: Fun and Interactive Ways to Help Your Little Ones Discover the World of Words

American Management Association
When I picked up a copy of Baby Read-Aloud Basics, the first thing I noticed was the following quotation on the cover:
    "If I were in charge of American parents, my first law would be that all new parents had to read this book."
    - Jim Trelease, author of the million-copy bestseller The Read-Aloud Handbook.
Since I have a lot of respect for Jim Trelease, a nationally known advocate for the importance of reading aloud, I was impressed.
The subtitle, Fun and Interactive Ways to Help Your Little Ones Discover the World of Words, also sounded promising. I was not disappointed. Baby Read-Aloud Basics is an excellent book, one I plan to share with expectant parents and parents of young children, as well as educators and others who care for babies and young children.

The Organization of Baby Read-Aloud Basics

Baby Read-Aloud Basics is divided into three main sections, all of which are illustrated with black and white photographs.
Part I – Why Baby Read-Alouds Benefit Your Baby's Language Development includes ten benefits of reading aloud to your child and the basic information you need to know to get started reading aloud to your baby. It includes information on the main features of "parentese," the preferred way for parents to talk to their babies. According to the authors, "Parentese aids in the process of learning the sounds, grammar, and structure of language, necessary for effective speaking, reading, and writing."

Part II – The Six Baby Read-Aloud Stages covers from birth to 24 months. Each of the six chapters in this section covers a different stage: birth-two months, two-four months, four-eight months, 8-12 months, 12-18 months, and 18-24 months. The format for each chapter is the same. Each chapter includes general information as well as detailed information about the baby's characteristics at that stage in terms of listening, verbal, visual, and motor. This is followed by step-by-step read-aloud instructions, from holding the baby and parentese interaction to challenges you might face. Following that is a narrative example of a parent reading to a baby, which includes specific parentese and things to notice in the interaction. Finally, there is information about appropriate children's books for the stage, and brief reviews of recommended books, along with parentese tips.

Part III – Practical Tips and Resources covers frequently asked questions, activities, how to manage TV, interviews with parents of children who are successful readers, and tips on selecting and making baby books. The FAQ section deals with such subjects as talking and reading to your baby, children with special needs, and living in a home where more than one language is spoken.

At the end of the book, there are six pages of end notes citing the sources the authors used in researching and writing the book, a list of recommended Web sites and resource books, and a detailed index.

The Authors of Baby Read-Aloud Basics

Caroline J. Blakemore and Barbara Weston Ramirez, the authors of Baby Read-Aloud Basics, are both certified Reading Recovery teachers. According to the Reading Recovery Council of North America, "Reading Recovery is a highly effective short-term intervention of one-on-one lessons for low-achieving first graders." The two authors, who had noticed that most of the children they worked with had little experience with books, became interested in how much effect reading aloud to babies could have upon children's later success in learning to read. Discovering that research results on the subject were positive, they wrote this book. Through Baby Read-Aloud Basics they give parents information on the importance of reading aloud to their children from birth (in fact, before birth) to 24 months and specific strategies for doing it effectively.

Baby Read-Aloud Basics: Guide Recommendation

If you have, or are expecting, a baby, I recommend you buy this book and use it as your first guide to raising a reader. If you are looking for a practical baby gift that will benefit both parent and child, I recommend Baby Read-Aloud Basics. For parents of preschoolers, I also recommend Mem Fox's Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. I recommend The Read-Aloud Handbook for families with young and school age children since it covers the broadest range of ages. (American Management Association, 2006. ISBN: 081447358X)
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