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Feb 11, 2021

Shared reading may be the single most important activity that adults can do to help children get ready to read. You can start this from birth, but remember to keep the interaction around the book a positive one. This will motivate your child to pursue reading later, even if they find learning to read challenging.

Beyond the simple fact that reading together is joyful, there are some concrete advantages to prioritising this activity:

  • Books also have different words than the words of conversation, so children gain increased vocabularies when you read books with them.
  • Reading books helps to develop a child’s background knowledge. Reading story books teaches them the structure of story so that when they are asked to write a story in school, they know what to do.
  • Reading factual books with young children supports their natural curiosity and helps them learn about the world.
  • Pointing to the words in the title or a repeated phrase in a book supports print awareness.
  • You can point out letters in any book or share alphabet books to support letter knowledge.
  • Many books for young children include the sounds of animals and have rhymes, both of which support phonological awareness.

Reading with your child is also an opportunity to be intentional about including diversity in your reading – the books you choose will influence how your child sees the world. This is an opportunity to be inclusive, to explore other parts of the world and other cultures, to talk about difference and to encourage your child to empathetic and caring and tolerant.

Tips and recommendations

0-12 months

Your baby will look at the pictures and will likely prefer pictures of faces. Between 6-12 months, your baby will start to vocalize and pat pictures.

Remember to ...

  • Hold your baby comfortably
  • Make sure your baby can see your face, and you theirs.
  • Follow baby’s cues for “more” and “stop”
  • Point and name pictures for your baby
  • Let your child control the book if they wish to
  • Ask “where’s the…?” and let your child point to the object

When choosing books look, stick to board books for now and look for:

12-24 months

Remember to...

  • Respond when your child wants to read
  • Keep reading together fun
  • Make sure you and your child are comfortable in order to keep reading a pleasurable experience
  • Let your child control the book
  • Be comfortable with a toddler’s short attention span
  • Ask “where’s the…?” and let your child point

When choosing books, you will likely still be picking board books as they are the sturdiest and the best size for little hands. You want books that have only a few words per page. Look for:

2 years and beyond

Remember to...

  • Respond when your child wants to read
  • Pause your reading when your child has something to say
  • Let your child control the book
  • Be comfortable with a toddler’s short attention span
  • Follow your child’s lead
  • Point out words with your finger as you read them

Children who are 2 years and up will likely be reading longer picture books. By this age, they understand generally how books work and they also know which ones they like the most. The best thing you can do is to pay attention to which books your child likes. Some children prefer books with a particular illustration style (for example, some prefer photos to drawings), some children prefer their books be funny (The book with no pictures), some prefer non-fiction (egg: nature’s perfect package ).

As with adults, taste in children is variable.
The best strategy is to offer your child a variety of different illustration styles and subjects and see which books they respond to. Luckily, the library has a huge variety of choices and you can try out a wide range of styles without spending any money purchasing books!

And, of course, storytimes are a great way to discover new books. Library staff are always happy to discuss our favourite books and to make recommendations for you based on you or your child’s preferences. You can do this in person in the branch, or by contacting InfoServiceby email or by phone.

And, always, in addition to reading with your child, don’t forget to ...






Reading online

Unable to find the online service that allows me to read to my granddaughter from books online.