Reading is an amazing way that children learn. Even for babies who don’t understand a word you’re saying! They focus on your voice. They hear new and different words. Eventually they can follow along with a story. Plus it is special time with you. Reading helps children learn to:
The best way to read with your child is to have fun! Children should enjoy story time. They will come to like books and want to read when they get older.
Tips for Reading with Your Baby
Cuddle while you read
The warmth and love your baby feels will help them like stories even more. It can also make mom or dad feel good too.
Talk about the pictures
You don’t have to read the words to tell the story. Point to the pictures as you tell your child what’s happening.
Follow your child’s lead
Your baby might chew the pages. Your toddler might turn the pages. That’s okay! Your child will enjoy story time more when she can explore the book her way.
Get into character
Use different voices for different characters. Babies love when you’re silly, and it makes story time even more fun.
Make it a routine
Make reading part of your child’s everyday life. It could be a book before bedtime, a story on the bus, or a favorite read in the morning before taking your toddler to child care.
A few minutes is fine
Young children can only sit for a few minutes. It’s okay if you don’t finish the story, or skip pages.
Book suggestions for every age:
Newborns to 6 months
Books with simple, large pictures. Newborns are just learning to focus and detect color. Big pictures and bright colors can help.
Stiff, cardboard books. Sturdy and colorful, board books travel well. You’ll have no worries about paper cuts on tiny fingers.
Cloth books. Babies like to chew on everything. Thankfully, these books can be thrown in the wash.
Babies 6 – 12 months
Board books. Look for ones with photos of other babies. Or pictures of things they might recognize, like balls and bottles.
Board books with flaps or textures. Babies love to lift the flaps and feel different textures. Exploring helps them learn about the world around them.
Plastic or vinyl books. These are great for bath time.
Young toddlers 12-24 months
Sturdy books. Your toddler loves carrying things around. These books won’t break when they get dropped.
Goodnight books. Reading these at bedtime can help your child relax and settle down for the night. Cuddle up to make it extra cozy.
Books about saying good-bye and hello. These basic greetings help teach your child to communicate.
Animal books. Ask your child what sound each animal makes – they will love it!
Older toddlers 24-36 months
Books that tell simple stories. Your toddler can now understand stories better.
Books with simple rhymes. Over time, your child will have fun memorizing the words.
Books about counting, the alphabet, shapes or sizes.
Pop-up books. Toddlers love these fun books that bring the story alive. Watch out giving them to babies and younger toddlers though – they might just chew or tear them!
Preschoolers 3-5 Years
Books about other children. These can be about children who look and live like them, or about children who live different lives. Books about friendship are great too.
Counting books. Your toddler is ready to learn about concepts like counting. You can also try books about size or time.
Books about how things work. Toddlers can be very curious. Try books about garbage trucks, tools, or flowers. Or anything your child is really interested in!
Books with simple words. Your child might memorize or even read them!