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February 28, 2018

Babies Need Words Everyday

Babies Need Words Everyday

By: Allison Kartman, Noblesville Youth Service Librarian

Parents are their child’s first teacher. We say this often to caregivers in our storytime and baby programs. From an early age, your baby watches you to learn about their world and how to interact in it. But how exactly can you “teach” a baby?

Luckily there are four simple words to help you with this task, Sing, Play, Talk, and Read. Doing these four things can help build your child’s literacy skills in preparation for learning how to read.


Remember all those fun songs from your childhood? Your baby will enjoy them too. Sing during mealtimes, car rides, and diaper changes. Baby doesn’t care if you aren’t a professional, so sing loud and proud! One of my favorite times to sing to my little one is in the bath. When it is time to brush his teeth we sing, “You Brush Your Teeth” by Raffi.


Playing is how children learn. Playing with objects (toys), pretending, and playing with others helps children learn about the world around them and gets them ready to read. Playing peekaboo during diaper changes, crawling around in boxes, and interacting with other babies and caregivers after our baby storytimes are just a few examples of simple playtime.


Talking with your little one is an easy way to introduce them to new words and expand their vocabulary. It is also something you can do anywhere! Talk during bath time as you wash your baby, talk about their belly, their ears, their nose. My favorite time to talk with my little is in the grocery store produce aisle. We talk about the vegetables and fruit I am buying, “Tomatoes are red! Bananas are yellow, you love bananas!”


Introducing books to your little one is easier than you think! Often new parents are encouraged to practice “tummy time” with their newborns to help strengthen neck muscles. This is a fabulous opportunity to introduce books as well. Board books with black and white pictures are a great way to help focus baby’s developing eyesight. Here are a few suggestions from our collection.

Checkers and Dot – J. Torres J. Lum
Look at Baby’s House – Peter Linenthal
Black on White – Tana Hoban


Joining out 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading program is a great way to commit to regularly reading with your child and to track your progress together.

Practicing these concepts with your little ones will help get them ready to read and set them up for a lifetime of learning success. Visit  or call (Fishers: 317-579-0304; Noblesville: 317-770-3216) our youth services departments to learn more about our resources and programs to help get you started today!