Read and Discuss Stories
Reading turns kids into confident thinkers. Make books a regular part of your relationship from the very beginning. With infants, point at the pictures and speak with excitement. With toddlers, just make it fun.
With Your Infant (0-12 months)
- Read regularly and with expression. Your baby won’t understand for a while, but that’s fine. They will hear your voice, see the pictures, and develop good feelings about books.
- Keep it simple. Board books with hard covers and thick pages are made especially for babies. Choose books that are short and have simple, bright pictures.
- Snuggle up. Hold your baby in your lap so they feel cozy and can see the pictures.
- Describe the pictures. It’s not important to read all—or any—of the words. Point to the pictures and describe the colors, shapes, and what the characters are doing.
With Your Toddler (12-36 months)
- Have a routine. Try to read together every day. Before bed is a great time to read, but choose a time of day that works best for your family.
- Change your voice. Try different voices for different characters.
- Help them follow along. Point to the words and pictures. Talk about the colors, shapes, and what the characters are doing.
- Ask questions. “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why is the girl happy?” Respond to your child’s comments and questions. Show your interest in their ideas.
More tips and resources
- Download the full Basics tip sheet on Reading and Discussing
- Sign up for free tips via text, courtesy of Birth to Three Alliance
- Get free books through the Imagination Library https://imaginationlibrary.com/
- How to get your free library card in Essex, Clinton, and Franklin County https://www.slfl.org/materials