Reading to Babies: Top Tips

Reading to babies is very different to reading to children. It is more about sharing than reading a story from beginning to end. These simple tips will help you create a loving story time for your baby.

1. Reading to Babies is about Sharing: Think of baby story time as a conversation you can have with your baby about a book. This is different than treating story time as a journey from the beginning to the end of a book that is read aloud to a child.

2. You Don’t Have to Read the Whole Book: Reading to babies is different to how you would read with an older child. You can spend all the time on one favorite page if you like. The goal when you are reading to a baby is sharing the experience rather than getting to the end of a book.

3. Talk about the Book in Your Own Way: You don’t need to read the story exactly like it is written in the book. You can talk about the pictures in the book. Ask simple questions like ‘What sound does a puppy dog make?’. You will have to provide an answer too of course but reading to babies is all about making things interesting for your baby and sharing time together. This is very different than when you read for an older child who will not allow you to miss a single word in their favorite story.

4. Make Up Your Own Story: If you are feeling creative you can make up your own story based on the pictures in the book. To do this you just need to talk about the pictures. Talk about the things, colors and shapes you see in the pictures. Point them out to your baby whilst you talk about them and watch for which pictures your baby likes most. This will give you ideas about which pictures to talk about. (Of course it’s very important that your baby can see the pictures while you talk about them.)

5. Keep Story Time Short: Babies have shorter attention spans than older children so it’s important to keep story time short – just a few minutes is best. You can also choose the best time by having story time when your baby is less fussy and better able to concentrate and enjoy story time. This is usually at a time when they are feed, alert and comfortable.

6. Baby Books are a Good Choice: Have some board books for babies at home which are suitable for reading to babies. Books that are especially written for babies are more likely to interest them.