Reading is important for all kids, and is absolutely vital for hearing impaired kids. We have a goal of ten books per day for Nolan (this is a self set goal- sometimes we meet it, sometimes we don't)!
Finding books that keep an active 15 month old engaged isn't always easy, so we read during lunch, we read during breakfast, we read before nap, in the car.. everywhere! Since Nolan is hard of hearing and can hear in close range when his aids are off, I even read to him in the bathtub. Here's a selection of ten of our favorite books in the 12-18 month range:
Five Little Monkeys by Eileen Christelow. Why we like it? Counting, repetition, the ability to do an accompanying finger play, and the inclusion of words we don't encounter every day (picnic, snooze, river, scold). Nolan would like to add that his favorite part is the "SNAP" when the crocodile goes after the monkeys.
That's Not My Kitten by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells. Why we like it? It is touch-and-feel and gives descriptions of fuzzy, smooth, shiny, rough, and fluffy. There is a repeating mouse character on each page. Nolan likes this one because he has a thing for cats.
Hug by Jez Alborough. Why we like it? While there are few words (primarly "hug") the pictures offer many discussion points for emotions. The baby monkey watches mother/baby pairs throughout the jungle exchanging hugs and longs for his own love. We use words like sad, lonely, friend, help, kindness, happy, and grateful when talking about the baby and mommy monkey.
Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann. Why we like it? There are many zoo animals, with the recurring theme of "good night (animal)." It is short enough to hold Nolan's attention, and has an element of humor as all the animals end up in the zookeeper's bedroom. This book also has a recurring mouse with a banana on each page.
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. Why we like it? Oh, come on. What kid DOESN'T like this book? There are a ton of household objects named, it rhymes, it has repetition, yadda yadda yadda. I think I can recite this one from memory.
Good Night Baby , a DK book. Why we like it? Real life photographs of the evening routine. I like this one because this time of day is frequently one where Nolan has no aids in. While he can hear without his aids within close range, he is probably not hearing everything correctly. Reviewing this language in a book is a good way for him to acquire words for things like towel, bubbles, bath, soap, undress, pajamas, etc.
Moo, Baa, Lalala by Sandra Boynton. Why we like it? Farm animals and their accompanying sounds, it is short, funny, and you can really ham it up. We have several Boynton books and enjoy all of them, but this one in particular is great for the 12-18 month age range.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle. Why we like it? Colors, animals, repetition, the last set of pictures on the last page reinforces left-to-right labeling (for future reading), etc. All of Eric Carle's books are great.
Winter Friends by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick. Why we like it? Real life photographs of a winter woodland, similar to our own backyard. The snowman provides food for several woodland animals. This is a shorter board book version of Stranger in the Woods.
B is for Bear by Roger Priddy. Why we like it? The alphabet, touch-and-feel, rhymes, and real-life photographs of 26 objects.
I'd also like to mention Matthew Van Fleet and his books. We used to have "Tails" and "Dogs" and loved both of them. They're touch and feel/lift the flap and have several interactive elements. Unfortunately, ours have been loved to death and we have to repurchase Tails.