Activity 2.3

Reading

Reading with your baby will introduce them to a wider range of words than you probably use in everyday language. For every 1000 words in children’s picture books, 30 are rare words. That’s more than the number in either adult’s or children’s TV programs.

Make reading together a special time and keep it fun. If your baby loves to be read to, they will grow to enjoy books and when they are ready, be keen to learn to read them. Once they’re mobile, you baby is unlikely to sit still for very long, so make story time short and frequent.

To help make reading fun and enjoyable for your baby try:

  • Reading slowly and clearly
  • Using funny or silly voices for the characters
  • Making sound effects and being expressive with your face and hands
  • Using finger puppets to help tell the story
  • You don’t have to read the words to tell a story – just look at the pictures
  • Pointing to the pictures in between reading and talking about what’s happening in them
  • Going back to the pictures after reading a story to find various people, animals or things. Once they’re good at this, ask your baby questions. Example:
    Which animal is waving? Who’s wearing the red hat?
  • Don’t worry if you don’t finish a story
  • Keeping a book in your bag to help the time pass while on the bus or waiting at the doctors
  • If your baby keeps trying to grab the book as you read, try giving them a toy to hold
  • Your baby may want you to read the same story over and over again – this helps your baby remember the language they’re hearing
  • Letting your baby help you turn the pages – its best to use sturdy books at the beginning
  • Reading a story at bed time – this can help your baby prepare to relax and get ready to sleep