Children who have lots of opportunities to handle books and listen to stories are likely to become more confident readers. When babies are allowed to handle books, learn to turn pages and listen to the rhythm of the language of stories, books can become familiar friends.
Watch your babies reaction as you read a story and share a book with them. Even small babies have ways of making their feelings known. If you start to read books to your baby when they are very tiny, they will begin to associate books with a happy, relaxed time. Before long they will respond by:
- waving their arms and kicking their legs
- staring at the pictures
- watching the person holding them developing eye contact
- babbling and squealing
- reaching for the book
Give your baby the chance to explore books
Babies need the chance to explore books in the same way as they explore the rest of the world, by looking, listening, handling them and even putting them in their mouths. They will want to know what books taste like. This is normal, board and material books come in handy for this. Very soon babies will want to reach and grab books. This will show that they are interested and want to find out more.
How you can help babies develop a love of books:
- Have appropriate books around that your baby can reach
- Turn off the television so that your baby is not distracted
- Let your baby handle books
- Be aware of your babies reactions
- Join the library to loan a variety of different books - it's FREE!
- Look at different kinds of books - lift the flap, material, pop up, black and white books for babies, board books, songs books
- make sharing books with your baby a special time. Books don't have to be shared just at bedtime
- Let your baby see you reading. Even if it's a magazine! This is positive role modelling.