Baby Read-Aloud Basics promises “Fun and Interactive Ways to Help Your Little One Discover the World of Words,” and I have to say that it follows through on that promise. There is a wealth of information included in this book. From charts, lists, & How-to-s to challenges, book guides, demonstrations, questions
and answers, and ending with additional resources, Baby Read-Aloud Basics should be required reading for new parents.
The qualified authors – both elementary school reading specialists – stress the importance of reading aloud to building language skills, and the importance of building language skills to future academic successes. And they provide the studies and experts to back up their ideas.
Blakemore and Weston Ramirez have chosen to approach this research and its implications to the lives of young children in a unique way. One section of the book breaks down the different developmental stages of infancy, and highlights how read-alouds benefit children at those specific ages. Even better is that each stage includes such things as the best book choices for read-alouds, the type of responses you can expect from your child at a particular age, and how to help your baby get the best out of their reading experiences.
Their suggestions are down to earth, simple and easily applied. Reading aloud, for example, isn’t necessarily word-for-word recitation from the book: depending on your child’s age, interests, and abilities it could mean pointing to and naming the illustrations; showing which way the book is held and progresses;
and/or rhyming one word from the text with words from your life. The book also addresses English-as-a-second-language issues and includes additional resources for parents dealing with those situations, a topic often ignored in other texts.
If parents are questioning the need to read to their very young children, after seeing the information provided in this book – including another section titled
"10 immediate benefits for your baby" – their doubts will be put to rest. This book may have particular importance for those parents who have fewer resources. Included studies show that one of the most important predictors of academic success isn’t wealth, or access to tutoring, or fancy computer games, or any of those things that might be out of reach for the majority of working-class families; no, a major gauge of how well a child might do in school is how much talking and reading a baby is exposed to in its first
two years of life. It’s an essential key to the ultimate well-being of any child – how much language are they exposed to when they are young enough to soak it all in?
I was worried that the book would feel like One. More. Thing. for overstressed parents to worry about – and it is. But perhaps, if the research presented here is correct, it’s a necessary worry. Most parents don’t balk at introducing the correct foods when their baby is ready for them; why not show them the correct way to introduce words and books? If all it takes for your baby to reach her potential and achieve her best is that she is read to regularly, why not make parents aware of it? Why not show them the best techniques and tools to use, so that their children can be learning from birth, just as they were meant to do?
Baby Read-Aloud Basics is certainly an enriching and educational tool that provides parents with the current research about learning and the steps that they can take to incorporate those new findings into their families’ lives.