Books and Babies For babies from age 6 weeks to 1 year
Sharing books is a way to have fun with your baby and to
start him on the road to becoming a reader. What You Need
Cardboard or cloth books with large, simple pictures of
things with which babies are familiar Lift-the-flap, touch-
and-feel, or peek-through play books (For suggestions, see
Resources for Children,
What to Do?
Read to your baby for short periods several times a day.
Bedtime is always a good time, but you can read at other
times as well–while you’re in the park, on the bus, or even
at the breakfast table (without the food!).
As you read, point out things in the pictures. Name them as
you point to them. Give your baby sturdy books to look at,
touch, and hold. Allow him to peek through the holes or lift
the flaps to discover surprises. Babies soon recognize the
faces and voices of those who care for them. As you read to
your baby, he will begin to connect books with what he loves
most–your voice and closeness.
Continue talking with your older child as you did with your
baby. Talking helps him to develop language skills and lets
him know that what he says is important.
What to Do
The first activities in the list below work well with
younger children. As your child grows older, the later
activities let him do more. However, keep doing the first
ones as long as he enjoys them.
Talk often with your toddler. When feeding, bathing, and
dressing him, ask him to name or find different objects or
clothing. Point out colors, sizes, and shapes.
Talk with your child as you read together. Point to pictures
and name what is in them. When he is ready, ask him to do
the same. Ask him about his favorite parts of the story, and
answer his questions about events or characters.
Teach your toddler to be a helper by asking him to find
things. As you cook, give him pots and pans or measuring
spoons to play with. Ask him what he is doing and answer his
Whatever you do together, talk about it with your child.
When you eat meals, take walks, go to the store, or visit
the library, talk with him. These and other activities give
the two of you a chance to ask and answer questions such as,
“Which flowers are red? Which are yellow?” “What else do you
see in the garden?”Challenge your child by asking questions
that need more than a “yes” or “no” answer.
Listen to your child’s questions patiently and answer them
just as patiently. If you don’t know the answer to a
question, have him join you as you look for the answer in a
book. He will then see how important books are as sources of
Have your child tell you a story. Then ask him questions,
explaining that you need to understand better.
When he is able, ask him to help you in the kitchen. He
might set the table or decorate a batch of cookies. A first-
grader may enjoy helping you follow a simple recipe. Talk
about what you’re fixing, what you’re cooking with, what he
likes to eat, and more.
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