Baby sign language

Baby sign language can be a great link between the 2 languages (English-Hungarian) we speak. It serves as a third language and helps Baby Sis to understand basic ideas even if we use different languages. The sign is always the same.

With E. I started to use the MAKATON sign language which is based on BSL (British Sign Language). Some ASL (American Sign Language) signs I also included as I sometimes find them easier like the sign for “more”, for instance.

American Sign Language
Makaton

 

After quite a lot of research on the net I found MAKATON the most expressive and easy to remember sign collection. What’s more, it is designed for children so one can find nursery rhymes and songs signed online, which makes it easier to learn and after a while (when your child is older) you can also watch a special BBC programme, Something Special.

In the following video you can hear about the benefits of signing to your child:

Actually, I created our own sign language using a mixture of BSL, MAKATON, ASL and our own signs, too.

No matter if we are in English or in Hungarian I use the same sign for an idea or object or a family member, to mention a few examples.

Just like E., Baby Sis also enjoys whenever I sign her a song, or I show her a sign while talking to her. E. helps me with signing every now and then (if she’s in the mood).

How to introduce the signs:

  • always face your child so (s)he can see your face and the sign too
  • show the sign while you say the word
  • have cheerful expression on your face
  • introduce maximum 1-2 signs at once
  • use and repeat the same signs for 3-5 days regularly
  • then introduce 2-3 new signs every 5-6 days
  • follow your child’s lead (some children pick up signs more slowly or faster than others)

10+1 basic baby signs to start with:

mummy
daddy

baby

nappy
milk
happy
sleepy
bath
eat
drink
+baby’s name

sleep(y)
drink
eat
Baby’s name can be signed with the first letter of their name. Here is the Makaton ABC:

Here is a youtube video of two girls showing the Makaton abc:

 

Moving on to a higher level…

Depending on the baby’s interest you can introduce 1-2 topics with 4-5 signs per week or you can choose a mixture of 10-15 favourite signs:

  • foods
  • animals
  • more family members
  • toys
  • everyday objects
  • colours
  • action verbs

(Depending on my time and if I can get some help with the video shooting I’ll put on some Makaton sign videos in the future)

Singing and signing:

Singing to your baby and telling her nursery rhymes are the best way to familiarise your child with the sounds, intonation, tune of your language(s). While singing you can sign what you sing about. You don’t need to sign every word just the most important ones. Your child will be fascinated by the sound and the visual impact as well.

Make sure you check out Signing Hands youtube channel where you can find several traditional nursery rhymes and songs signed. (You can learn the signing from the son quite easily)

Here is an example: – Row, row, row your boat

 

More resources:

You can have a look at my Makaton Pinterest board which is full of useful signs, links and videos about sign language and great number of signs.

I hope you find this post useful and interesting. Although I’m not an expert on signing, just a mom who learnt it all by herself from the net, if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me.

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FAQ

In the last couple of weeks I have bumped into a lot of mums who asked me similar questions about raising our daughter bilingual in a totally monolingual environment. So I collected a bunch of questions and my answers to them with some links from earlier blog posts:

  1. Do you speak to her English only?

No, I don’t. I can’t do that. My mother tongue is my mother tongue, no matter how high my level of English is. (High level of language command is relative. I always feel my English is deteriorating.)

I assigned certain times to speak English. When E. was a baby we had a timetable which meant that we used a little bit more English than Hungarian as she spent loads of time with me. Then we needed to change our schedule, still we had 50-50 % balanced language usage. (When she was around 2). Nowadays, (she’s almost 3) we are in trouble with the balance between the two languages as we do not spend so much time together therefore there is less English in her life. BUT! Her English basis is so strong that she asks for changing languages when she feels she misses one of them (it’s usually English)

Even today, whenever there are just the two of us she says: – Uh-uh, Mommy. We need to change into English. We are just two.
or
– I’ve already changed into English, because there is only Mommy and I.

 

  • When do you speak English to her and when Hungarian?

    There are many methods you can follow. What I use is a special one: I call it the timetable method. By now we don’t have a timetable any more. Whenever we can, we speak English, as the Hungarian input of the environment is too influencing.

  • When did you start talking to her in English?

    When we took her home from the hospital. At first, I was just singing songs and chanting rhymes to her in English. I wasn’t sure about what I was doing and it felt strange. Then I got some inspirations after having read some books and contacted some other moms in the same shoes. From the age of 6 months I’ve been talking to her in English just like in Hungarian.

  • Wasn’t she late with speech development?

    Not at all, although it would have been perfectly normal. She was about 1 year old when she could say 6-8 English words (and Hungarian ones too). Actually, her first word (bib) was in English. Of course, these words were fuzzy and not distinct for the untrained ears. But by the time she turned 18 months these words had become clear and a LOT more had been added to them. Not to mention, she started to build up 2-3 word sentences at that time too.

    I have to admit that the period between the age of 12 and 18 months was filled with more English sessions than Hungarian.

  • Doesn’t she mix the languages?

    She does! At first she didn’t, however, nowadays more and more. I’m not worried about it… okay… I am a little bit concerned, but I know if we keep up the balance between the languages she’ll have all the language tools in both languages to express herself. Most of the time she mixes Hungarian into her English because she doesn’t know a word or she can’t express something due to lacking a structure.

    Though it happens the other way round, too. She makes her grandparents puzzled when she asks for some stories with the telescope in it (mind you, pronounced it with a perfect British accent) or when she says she wants to play on the see-saw at the playground. Sometimes she names some bugs (bumblebees, wasps, ants) or plants (pansies, daffodils, shepherd’s-purse etc) she sees in the park in English. They can sort out this teeny-weeny language problem… for the time being.

  • What do you do when she mixes the languages?

    I keep on talking in the given language. I don’t change. And I do NOT advise you to let your child take the lead (although it is also an option.) I go on talking, let’s say, in English when she says some Hungarian words or sentences here and there. If I know she could say it in English I ask back: – What did you say? or – What’s that in English?

    If I am aware of the fact that she can’t express herself, I simply repeat in English what she said in Hungarian. Some sources suggest not to make your child repeat a word or sentence, yet sometimes I ask her to repeat just to reinforce we use English and help her fix a structure she cannot use (at all, or properly). Nonetheless, I’m not forcing it. Normally, she repeats expressions after me by herself. If she doesn’t want to, we move on.

    Also, you can pretend you do not understand what your child says, but in our case (we do not follow the One Parent One Language -OPOL-strategy; she can hear me talk both Hungarian and English) it wouldn’t work as my daughter knows that I understand and speak both. The other problem with this could be that your child can get frustrated if he or she can’t put an idea or a wish across.

  • What English activities/programmes can you take part in?

    We used to have a native British nanny for almost 2 years. I’m really grateful for her as she meant that I could have some free time (cooking, washing, ironing, shopping, cleaning etc.) while I knew English was still in focus in my daughter’s life. Now we are looking for a new nanny. If you happen to know someone in Budapest who would be interested I would appreciate it.

    I’ve organised a Mums’ English Club (MEC) in the library nearby, where mums gather with their little ones and chat in English while the kids play away. At the end of our sessions we sing some English songs for the kids. An afternoon session of MEC is badly needed but I haven’t had time to find a place where we could go free of charge.

    We’ve been taking part in the well-known Helen Doron School’s programme since E. was 10 months old. We are planning to leave it, but I’ll write about that in a later post.

    For almost a year we took part in a swimming course which was instructed both in English and Hungarian. We met there some non-Hungarian families who communicated mainly in English, so E. could hear during the swimming sessions that English is not just Mommy’s crazy language.

    We also visited Rhyme Time sessions (singing and playing in English) for a few times, but we do not go regularly.

  • Does Daddy speak English to her?

    He does. Daddy speaks a lot of languages, it’s no problem for him at all. What’s more, practising English regularly helps him improve his spoken skills as well. I suppose he also enjoys our English session;

    Again, at the beginning we did it differently. When Daddy arrived home from work we changed into Hungarian, but the whole day was in English. Nowadays, as I’m starting to work, E. is spending more time with the grandparents or she is in the nursery (not to mention that our native nanny, A. has left) we have been trying to fit in as many English sessions as we can.

    We have plenty of dinners, weekend programmes, playground visits, craft activities and bath times in English with Daddy. I’m very lucky, because my husband is very supportive concerning our bilingual project.

  • Can she say sentences?

    Haha. This has been the funniest question so far I’ve received. Sure she can. 🙂 Sometimes very complicated ones. I was really amazed when she said a passive sentence in the playground (– Look, Mommy, the other swing is taken) or when she talks to her soft toy using present perfect (– What have I told you?). One day she was replaying a Berry and Dolly episode (Gingerbread) that we watch in English.

    The following left her mouth: – I’m making gingerbread with the cookie cutter and then I’ll put it out in the winter (sic) to cold (sic). Magpie, (that is me) come and take it away.
    Later in the story: – Don’t take away that belongs to somebody else.

    Here is the episode.

    Not only her sentences but her vocabulary is also outstanding. I’m often surprised at how eloquent words she knows. The other day she called a pan saucepan. I don’t think I have ever used this word with herOr she can name different kinds of onions: leek, garlic, spring onion as well as varied expressions for the eating process: munch, chew, stuff your face, digest, feed, bite

     

  • How do you “teach” her (sic)?

    This is exactly how this question is asked most of the time.

    And the answer is : I do not teach her.

    What I do is to play with her in English just like in Hungarian. We do the daily routines in both languages. I try to prepare everyday and special activities for her which give us a chance to meet a lot of new situations:

    – experimenting,
    – prepping for holidays of the English-speaking world,
    – doing fun craft activities,
    cooking and baking
    doing housework together
    exploring nature
    reading books and singing a lot as well as watching videos

    These are just a few examples. In short, we LIVE our lives in 2 languages.

    +1. How shall WE start?

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started” – Mark Twain

So just start it.

If you want to get some ideas read through the blog… HAHA. Believe me, it’ll be much easier to find your own ways. But you can get some ideas here. (Feel free to search for keywords if you’re looking for something exact)

Start with some songs that you sing to your child while changing nappies or waking him/her up.

Search some videos online around a topic (cars, shapes, animals, numbers, planets etc.) that your child is interested in and watch them together. You can also explain what you see in the videos.

Learn some rhymes/songs with sign language and play with your munchkin.

Flashcards are almost always fascinating for children, but rather time-consuming to prepare your own home-made ones. On the other hand, our own flashcards are much more attractive to my daughter. You can find really good flashcards online, which you only need to print (and perhaps laminate).
If you don’t mind spending some money, you can buy some beautiful ones.

And I haven’t mentioned the endless opportunities that books offer to speak and practise a foreign language.

Again, these are some very basic ideas to start with your little one from an early age.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me either in the comments or via email. You can come and visit  my facebook page as well.

Enjoy!

Home-made tools for language practice I.- Flashcards

As a language teacher I used a lot of card activities with my students to explain, identify, show or play things with them. It worked even with adults, but it’s a hit with kids. They are colourful, fun to look at, nice to chew them or fold them (well, at least from E.’s point of view).

You can find a lot of ready-made flashcards on the net, for example, here. You just print them and can start using them. You can also find videos showing flashcards. I found them rather disappointing. A lot of them have strange visuals, or they use the American variation of the word I wouldn’t use. But the most horrible experience is when the words are pronounce by a machine. It’s scary. Plus, I don’t want to make E. sit in front of the computer a lot.

I decided to make my own cards; it’s more personal in this way, and sometimes E. could see when I prepared them, and became even more interested. And we can take with us if we want.

Of course I’ve read a lot about the method which was developed by Glen Doman and his flashcards, but I found it too much pressure on me. So I took it easy 🙂

What I do is similar to the Doman technique, but maybe not so thorough. I make flashcards about the topics E. is interested in. And the way I show them to her is not so systematic and not so fast. I’m not changing the cards so often as we play a lot with them and it’s not only about showing her the cards.

So here is an example. When she was 8 months old, I was just showing her the cards and say what she could see in the picture. Later, on I mooed when the cow turned up and also showed the MAKATON sign for the cow. Then when she was around 10-11 months old I started to add extra information as well (“The cow gives us milk” – and showed the picture, showed the signs for cow and milk). When E. became 1 year old we started to name the colours as well (“Look – the cow is white and brown. It gives us milk” – I showed the signs – What colour is the milk? – and I answered: – “White”. Now, at the age of 14 months, E. answers “white” and she moos as soon as she hears the word “cow”.)

Sometimes I tell her a story or connect the cards to something that happened to us, or anything connected to real life. She loves those cards the most which she experienced in her own life (E.g.: body parts are great as she can identify them on me or on herself, what’s more, the cards make her interactive; she asks D. to show his belly button. Among the flowers she adores the dandelion clock as we blew a lot of them when they bloomed in the park, but there are the fruits she can touch and taste like a banana or an apple).

I started with animals. As we don’t have a colour printer I found some colouring pages on the net and selected some basic (later some more) animals, printed them and coloured them myself. (Quite time-consuming). Luckily I got a laminator from D. for Christmas, so I glued the coloured animals on colour paper and laminated each. It was a great idea as at the beginning E. chewed, folded and threw them away, so they really needed to be tough. Different topics have different background colours.

Animals
I thought at that time I won’t make other cards but animals since she wanted nothing else but animals. We made noises that the animals made, named their colours, stated what they like eating, where they live, or sang a song about them etc.
Then she got a basket of soft vegetables (from IKEA) and I was “forced” to make some vegetable cards. (We play matching games with the soft vegetables and the cards). The same thing happened when we bought the wooden fruit box.
Fruit and vegetables

While we were walking in the park I realised we needed some flower cards, too. I just haven’t had the energy and willpower to make tree cards, but I will one day. The flower cards are more ‘professional’ as they are photos printed in colour.

Flowers

I don’t want E. to learn reading yet, so I didn’t bother making word cards connected to the pictures. Except for the flower cards. And the reason for it is that I have difficulty remembering the names of the flowers so it is also a learning process for me. The names are on the back. Sometimes she wants to look at the words, so I show her. But I’m NOT teaching her to read.

Then the body parts came influenced by the Helen Doron songs and rhymes. At the moment we are looking at them when E. is sitting on the potty, as we can point at different body parts when she is half-naked (belly button is her favourite). After making the body part cards, the time came when a box was necessary for keeping the cards in one place (that is next to the potty most of the time). So long time ago I saw a pinterest post about how to make a box for kids out of a Vanish plastic bottle. I made it and the cards can fit in it well.

Body parts

I also made musical instruments, but she has just started to become interested in them. We are going to begin using them later on.

Musical instruments

Below you can see the present collection of our cards. They are far from being ready. I’m continuously making new cards to each group.
Certainly there are more groups to come (everyday objects, furniture, baby stuff, means of transport, rooms, playground toys, tools, kitchen ware etc).

The collection
Let’s sum up what to play with cards?
1. Show them and say the name of the thing in the card
2. Matching cards and toys (toy animals, toy fruit or real ones can work well too)
3. Grouping (body parts on the head or fruit and vegetables in 2 groups, or according to colours in case of flowers)

4. Story telling (E.g.: chose few animals and vegetables and flowers, and build a story around them – the rabbit eats the carrot and hops into the field to smell flowers where he meets his best friend, the mouse, who is running away from the cat, because the mouse tried to drink the cat’s milk)

5. Link the cards with sign language
6. Face down (put out 3-4 cards facing down and the child can turn them one by one, then name/show/point at the thing on the card – sounds boring but E. loves this too)
7. Sing a song (I put out some cards, e.g.: the lamb, the ladybird and the spider – I sing a song about one of the animals – Incy Wincy Spider and either E. picks up the card I’m singing about or we act out the song; the same with The Ladybird song or Ba-Ba Black Sheep song)
8. Odd one out (I show 3 or 4 cards of the same kind, but one is different – 3 farm animals and a wild one, or 3 yellow flowers and one red etc. –  then I ask, for instance, “Is the pig a wild animal?” – “No, it’s not a wild animal.” “Is the horse a wild animal?” -“No, it’s not a wild animal.” “Is the cow a wild animal?” – “No, it’s not a wild animal.”-“Is the lion a wild animal?” – “Yes, it is!” So the pig, the horse and the cow are farm animals.)
There must be much more games to play, just let your (and your child’s) imagination fly.

Potty training

Potty training gives us another chance to widen our vocabulary and we can make it fun (in English) for E. to sit on it.
Potty place

For her 1st birthday E. got a potty from I. Granny. I thought it was a little early to start, but as soon as she got hold of the potty, she sat on it swaying her legs with a wide smile on her face. So this was a sign she is open to sit on it at least. I assigned an area for the potty and made it into a fun place as you can see below.




I was lucky as after a few goes she peed and after a week she also pooped into the potty. But it takes time to sit and wait for the outcome, so while she is sitting on the potty I’m next to her and entertain her both in English and Hungarian, depending on which day or which time period we are in.
These toys and books can be played with when E. is sitting on the potty, so when she goes there to play, I put her on the potty. Then comes the potty song. The tune is the same as Twinkle, twinkle little star and the lyrics:

Tinkle, tinkle little tot,
Now you sit
upon the pot
Any second you will see
Sprinkle, splash as you go pee
Tinkle, tinkle little tot,
Now you sit upon the pot
(I found it on baba-angol.hu, but I couldn’t link it properly for some reasons)

While E. is sitting on the potty we are looking at the books. Sometimes she points at a picture and I say the name, but nowadays if I ask: “Where’s the teddy?” or “What’s this?” She can point or tell me the thing I’m pointing at.

The following words she can say from the books:

 
English:                                       
apple
pear
nana (banana)
tick-tock (clock)
teddy (plus showing the sign)
ant
baby
ye (yellow)
blue
teeth
head
bread
red
ack (black)
book (plus showing the sign)
duck
neigh (horse)
mun (monkey)
bib
tree
meow (cat)
coocoo (pigeon)
baa-baa (sheep)
dod (dog)
eat (plus showing the sign)
 
Hungarian:
eper

inni

még (shows her self-created sign)
ebből (picking which bottle she wants to drink from)
dinnye
apa
anya (said first on Father’s Day – ironically)
Mana (our dog)
éni (én is – me too)
i-á (for the donkey)
légy (fly- her favourite animal)
hinta (and she starts swinging)
kicsi (said only once)
pá-pá (waving goodbye when we finish with the book)
bé (béka – frog)
She can point at several other pictures if I say their names. What we often play is that she chooses two or three pictures and she points at them one after the other and I say their names (or if it’s an animal I give the sound they make). She enjoys it a lot and points at the different pics faster and faster, then laughs out loud.
 
Other activities:
 
When we have finished with the books, we can look at flash cards (I change the flash cards – 5 at a time – every third or fourth day). We have a lot of animal cards, as E. is crazy about them, but I also made some fruit, vegetable and flower cards too. I’m in the process of making body parts, musical instruments and colour cards since she is starting to be more and more interested in them.

Another great activity she loves playing is counting the clothes pegs. Actually, I saw the Helen Doron teacher using pegs during the lessons and E. liked it a lot. So I put five pegs of different colours in a plastic cup and we count them or I name the colours then E. repeats them. The same goes with the plastic bottle caps – in the name of recycling. Yellow is her favourite colour. It’s hard to take it away from her when we have finished. When D. is playing with E. on the potty, he shakes all the five caps in his big hands, then spread them on his palms and E. has to point at the colour D. is saying. It’s also quite enjoyable.
 
Potty toys
As you can see in the picture above, we have some musical instruments and a toy mobile phone, a FisherPrice Frog  which sings English songs if you push the flashing shape on his tummy and a peek-a-boo doggy. (The mobile and the frog are from a secondhand shop for half the price of the original) Well, I won’t go into details in connection with them. Use your imagination. 🙂
 
You can put ANYTHING next to the potty to play with. These are just a few ideas. Our only rule is that she can play with these things when she is sitting on the potty (both in English and Hungarian). But, to be perfectly honest, she sits there happily even for 10-15 minutes if she is in the mood to play with these potty toys. Sometimes I can hardly make her leave the place.
 
And a little extra: I believe in rewards. So if we find something in the potty after getting up, E. gets a sticker (you can see the plastic box in the top right corner with a lot of stickers on). In fact, she gets one sticker for pee-pee and two for poopy. Now she can (or at least tries to) stick them on by herself.
 
The box is almost full of stickers 😀 I need to make another one from a 5-litre plastic bottle.
 


Books we are using

E. is extremely interested in books and  we, as a family, find it important to have a good and varied library at home. If you raise your child bilingual, having great books is essential from the very beginning. Quality counts more than quantity. We also use some Hungarian books in English and vica versa. I would spend my husband’s monthly salary on books if I could. So far I’ve managed to collect a few books both in English and Hungarian:

Our small baby library

The books you can see in the photo above are the ones that are available for E. at any time she wants them. I also have some more rhyme books, fairy tale collections and other stories in paperback format. I rather keep them away from her at present as she is living her life through experimenting (chewing, tearing, hitting, folding etc.) with everything.

Reading out loud to your child, no matter in which language, is a must. Even at a very young age. In our case both in English and in Hungarian.

E.’s biggest favourite is The Wizard of Oz at the moment. She is now a year old. And of course, we did not start it with this story. What we have is not a board book so she can’t have it; I take it only when we read it, so it is not available to her 7/11. Probably this is also part of the magic. I bought this book in a second hand Hungarian (!) book shop for 100 HUF:

 
 

I try to read it out with sound effects. The characters have different tones of voice, when the storm is coming I say whoooosh or sssssshhhhh, when the lion appears I roar, when the wizard prepares the balloon I imitate the blowing of a balloon etc. E. really loves all the sound effects. After I have read the book, she can get it for a short while. E. tries to turn the pages (it’s not easy for her as she is used to board books) and while we are looking at the pictures I tell her what we see in a few words. Then we put the book back to its place. This is when she starts whining, sometimes crying but it’s quite easy to direct her attention to something else, luckily.

But I should start with the beginning. Let’s go in chronological order:
At the very beginning, from birth to 6 months I used three CLOTH BOOKS.


IKEA cloth book – The Giant Elephant’s Circus
One from IKEA, and two from DM (we got them all as presents). When she couldn’t move around too much and too fast, I just put down the book so she could see it and told a story (The Giant Elephant’s Circus, The Rabbit’s Carrot Garden, The Secret Treasure – the latter is an underwater story with sea animals, alas, I have no pics of it as it landed at one of the Grandmas). She paid really close attention. Then by the time she could touch the book, I described the sounds they made (crackle and rustle), the different surfaces they had (rough, smooth, soft). Later on I stared to name the colours, the very simple sentences got more complex, though the main story line remained the same.



Babylove cloth book -The Rabbit’s Carrot Garden



The first thing E. could do with her hands after grabbing an object is turning the page of these books, and after a while BOARD BOOKS. It was after the age of 6 months, but this time she was just interested in turning the pages. When she was around 8-9 months old she was closly examining certain pages and skipped others.

I, myself, LOVE the Ladybird series. They have so many great books for all ages. The Baby Touch series is what suits a child under 3 the most. We have 2 of these colourful, vivid fun books which can be touched, scratched, pushed and licked:


In case of the Rhyme Book, I say the rhyme or sing the song which is on the given page while E. is touching and licking the different surfaces. I often ask her questions about the pictures (Where’s the Teddy? or Are these flowers the same? What colour is the pussycat?) and then I answer them (There he is, No, they’re different, She’s orange), but nowadays she’s started to answer me babbling or pointing or even saying some wordlike utterances.

In case of the Happy Babies Book, we mostly touch and scratch, or wave hello or bye-bye to different creatures. Also, I say a lot of colours here. If I’m a little bored with it then I sing along a song which could be connected to the pictures. E.’s favourite page is the last one, so we just sit over it and push and lick the squishy, circle and the shiny, silver triangle.

Another number 1. book with small kids is the Spot series by Eric Hill. Here is a video where Eric Hill himself is reading out one of his books, Where’s Spot?. The little hands love turning the flaps (but be careful, they can tear them off in the twinkling of an eye). Spot is very well supported online as well. Have a look at Spot’s homepage.

E. enjoys flap books a lot. Another one in our library, which is “read” on a daily bases, is Dear Zoo. You can have a look at the inside in this funny video.

There are some educational books for early learning purposes. The market is vast for these books and there are a great number of them. What we have are some Baby Einstein books about shapes and numbers (I managed to get 3 of them at a mom-to-mom sale in the local youth centre for a few hundred HUF). 
 

I could go on and on listing the books we love using or would love to buy but there would be no point. As far as I’ve experienced it, it doesn’t really matter what books you have, and how many you have as long as you open them regularly, on a daily bases, or as frequently as your child is interested in them. Even if you don’t have a well lined purse (well, well it’s not a surprise that these baby books cost a fortune) you can find discounts and second hand books too.

Check out the following sites:

 

Angolkönyvek.com

There’s a site (bookdepository.com) where delivery is free. What’s more, you can read to your child online for free (though it’s not really for babies, or at least my little one doesn’t really enjoy it that much yet): wegivebooks.org . Another possibility is to make your own book, but it’ll be another post.

 
And to finish this post, here is a photo of E. reading her favourite book: