Why reading with your young baby is important
Sharing stories, talking and singing helps your baby’s development. Doing this every day helps your baby get familiar with sounds, words, language and, eventually, the value and joy of books. This all builds your baby’s early literacy skills and helps him go on to read successfully later in life.
Reading stories also stimulates your baby’s imagination and helps her learn about the world around her. It’s a great time for you to bond with your baby and share time together, too.
Sharing books with your baby
Even young babies can learn from the experience of reading books with you. For example, you can:
- name familiar and new things – this can help your baby learn about sounds and words. The more words children hear, the more words they learn
- change the tone of your voice as you read – this makes it easier for your baby to pick up on different speech sounds, an important step in learning to make sounds himself
- turn the pages when you read with your baby – this shows her how to use a book.
Here are some general tips to help you make the most of reading time with your little one:
- make a routine, and try to share at least one book every day
- turn off the TV or radio, and find a quiet space so your baby can hear your voice
- try out funny noises and sounds – play and have fun!
- hold your baby close or on your knee while you read, so he can see your face and the book.
Visit your local library – it’s free to join and borrow. The staff there will be able to recommend age-appropriate books for you and your baby to enjoy.
What to read with your baby
There are so many books to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start. As a broad rule, babies enjoy books that have good rhymes, rhythm and repetition. This repetition and rhyming helps children learn.
From the time your baby is about four months of age, you might like to look for:
- books with bright colours and different textures so your baby can hear, see and feel the book
- books with simple, large and bright pictures – these are interesting and easy for babies to focus on
- books with pictures of babies and faces
- soft, waterproof plastic and cloth books that can go in your baby’s mouth and into the bath.
Here are some books your baby might enjoy:
Baby Touch Colours by Ladybird Books
Baby Touch Words by Ladybird Books and Justine Smith
Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Junior
Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Junior
Aussie Babies Can by Magabala Books
Aussie Toddlers Can by Magabala Books
I Went Walking by Sue Machin and Julie Vivas.