Help your baby or toddler get ready to read

Parents as teachers

Children learn best by doing things - and they love doing things with you! Reading together will help your baby:

  • Grow in confidence
  • Grow in imagination
  • Get ready for school, and succeed in school

Sharing books with your baby or toddler...

  • Is enjoyable!
  • Teaches your baby to talk and listen.
  • Teaches your baby to think and understand.
  • Helps your baby be aware of the world.
  • Boosts brain development.
  • Gets your child ready to read by herself or himself.

When to share books

  • Begin when your child is born.
  • Set aside a special time each day, such as nap time, bedtime, or after meals.
  • Share a book with your baby every day. Twenty minutes is ideal, but even just a few minutes will make a difference.
  • Share books when you both need some quiet time.
  • Bring a book when you know you'll be waiting: at the doctor's office, bus stop, out to dinner, etc.
  • Find books that connect to something in real life, for example: dogs barking, going to the zoo, fire trucks.

How to share books

  • Turn off distractions - television, radio, or stereo.
  • Have your child pick the books to read.
  • Re-read your child's favorite books whenever asked.
  • Hold you baby in your lap; show your baby the book.
  • Interact with the book and your baby: point to pictures, ask your child to point out objects in the pictures, talk together about the story, pictures, or the book. ("Look what's on the back cover!")
  • Point to the pictures of words as you read, or ask your child to point out objects in the pictures.
  • Read aloud in your most dramatic voice.
  • Let your baby play with the book if he or she wants to.
  • Stop when your baby loses interest or gets upset. Try again later.

Even when you're not reading

  • Talk with your baby about what is going on around you.
  • When your baby or toddler "talks" to you, listen carefully, and answer. Don't worry if you misunderstood!
  • Speak in the language most comfortable for you.
  • Tell your child stories.
  • Encourage your toddler to tell you stories. Listen closely and ask questions about the stories.
  • Tell your child nursery rhymes or make up rhymes.
  • Sing songs to your baby or toddler.
  • Have the alphabet available to play with in blocks, magnets, foam shapes, or pasta.

Most importantly: Have fun!