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Library Corner: Babies, books and bonding

Tess Riley
Grand County Library District
GCLD patron Nancy Ziegler and her son Charles enjoy sharing the experience of reading infant and children's books.
Courtesy GCLD

As a parent, you already understand the importance of reading to your children. But did you know it’s equally vital to read to your infant?

A baby’s brain grows at an astounding rate. Infants are born with 50 trillion synapses, but 1,000 trillion additional synapses form after birth. Everything is new to a baby, and they soak up information, sensations and experiences like a sponge.

Even if your baby isn’t able to comprehend words, much less follow a story, they will still gain valuable prereading skills by simply being exposed to books. You don’t have to read books word-for-word if your little one can’t pay attention. You can point to pictures, count objects, name colors, and let your baby practice holding the book and flipping the pages. Board books with thick cardboard pages or plastic books with wipeable pages are great for little hands and, sometimes, mouths.



Handling and playing with books will help your baby develop both fine and gross motor skills. Familiarity with books develops interest in reading and learning.

Listening to an adult read a story provides valuable language skills. Babies will begin to recognize sounds as the basic building blocks of speech and become aware of the variety of tones and emotions in spoken words. Their vocabulary will begin to develop. Language is the single most important learning instrument for your child’s brain.



And best of all, reading books to your baby provides lots of great cuddling and bonding time. The connection you and your little one form over books will last a lifetime.

The Grand County Library District (GCLD) has a wonderful collection of resources for our tiniest patrons. Every branch has a wide assortment of board books and sensory kits, some donated by Grand Beginnings, for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Our children’s areas are bright, colorful and equipped with pint-size chairs and low shelves for little hands.

GCLD patron Nancy Ziegler shared that she and her infant son, Charles, cherish the opportunities the library provides.

“Charles’ favorite thing to do is read,” she said. “He is so engaged as I read to him, he even holds onto the pages. Our time at the library is our favorite time of the week!”

All GCLD branches offer weekly story times open to infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Your baby is never too young to start attending story time.

Don’t worry if your little one cries or squirms, our story times are relaxed and informal. Our goal is for your child to enjoy coming to the library and to experience the joys of books.

Story times are a great way for caregivers to connect with each other too. Visit the program calendar at http://www.gcld.org to find the story time nearest you.

While you’re at the library, be sure to register your baby for GCLD’s “Tails & Tales” Summer Reading Program. Even though your baby can’t read, they can earn fun prizes by reading with a grown-up. And, of course, GCLD’s Summer Reading Program is also open to older children, teens and adults. We have lots of great prizes for all ages.


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