Tips for Reading to Your Children
- SNUGGLE UP WITH A BOOK – When you hold your baby close and look at a book together, your baby will enjoy the snuggling and hearing your voice as well as the story. Feeling safe and secure with you while looking at a book builds your baby’s confidence and love of reading
- CHOOSE BABY-FRIENDLY BOOKS – Books with bright and bold or high-contrast illustrations are easier for young babies to see, and will grab their attention. Books made of cloth or soft plastic (for the bathtub) or “board books” with sturdy cardboard pages are easier for a baby to handle
- KEEP BOOKS WHERE YOUR BABY CAN REACH THEM – Make sure books are as easy to reach, hold, and look at as toys. Remember, a baby will do with a book what he does with everything else — put it in his mouth. And that’s exactly what he’s supposed to do, so you may only want to put chewable books within reach
- DON’T EXPECT YOUR TODDLER TO SIT STILL FOR A BOOK – Toddlers need to move, so don’t worry if they act out stories or just skip, romp, or tumble as you read to them. They may be moving, but they are listening
- RECITE RHYMES, SING SONGS, AND MAKE MISTAKES! – Pause to let your toddler finish a phrase or chant a refrain. Once your toddler is familiar with the rhyme or pattern, make mistakes on purpose and get caught
- CHOOSE ENGAGING BOOKS – Books featuring animals or machines invite movement and making sounds. Books with flaps or different textures to touch keep hands busy. Books with detailed illustrations or recurring items hidden in the pictures are great for exploring and discussing
- KEEP READING SHORT, SIMPLE, AND OFTEN – Toddlers frequently have shorter attention spans than babies. Look for text that is short and simple. Read a little bit, several times a day
- READ TOGETHER EVERY DAY – Read to your child every day. Make this a warm and loving time when the two of you can cuddle close
- SAY HOW MUCH YOU ENJOY READING – Tell your child how much you enjoy reading with him or her. Talk about “story time” as the favorite part of your day
- READ WITH FUN IN YOUR VOICE – Read to your child with humor and expression. Use different voices. Ham it up!
- KNOW WHEN TO STOP – Put the book away for awhile if your child loses interest or is having trouble paying attention
- BE INTERACTIVE – Discuss what’s happening in the book, point out things on the page, and ask questions
- READ IT AGAIN AND AGAIN – Go ahead and read your child’s favorite book for the 100th time!