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Reading to Children

Reading with your children, including babies, is one of the best things you can do for them! Reading helps them learn language skills, self-discipline, and concentration. Even better, when you read to your children, you and your children get to bond.

When you read with children:

  1. Allow babies to touch, grasp, and even taste or chew on books. This is how they learn.
  2. Let your child turn the pages as you go.
  3. Point to and name things in pictures.
  4. Encourage your child to join in. This can be by asking him to “Moo like a cow,” or “What does a cow say?”
  5. Give positive reinforcement. Figure out what’s right about your child’s ideas and answers. If your child says, “That’s a buffalo,” and you know it’s a bear, say something like, “The brown buffalo does look like a bear. They’re the same color and size. But a bear has big teeth. Do you see those teeth?!”
  6. Stay on the page until your child is ready to move to the next page.
  7. Know that children between the ages of 12 and 18 months can usually enjoy books for a just few minutes.
  8. Vary your voice and use expressions to fit the characters of the book.
  9. Ask your child questions such as “Where is the….?” and “What’s that?” and wait for her response. Keep questions simple.

Choosing books that will be best for children based on their age:

  1. Birth to 3 months: Share books with pictures that have sharp contrasts. Black on white books are a helpful distraction during tummy time.
  2. From 4 to 6 months: Introduce soft books. At this age, babies are more able to reach and grasp – and they even see better.
  3. From 7 to 9 months: Offer bright board books with lots of color and without many words. At this age, babies begin picking things up with their thumb and pointer finger – so they can practice turning stiff pages on their own.
  4. From 10 to 12 months: Share board books with words. At this age, babies are better able to understand what people are saying. Stories that use rhymes and repetition are fun because of their sing-song sound. This also aids in memory and language development.

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