The Books for Babies program focuses on the first 12 months of baby’s development. So, I thought I would take some time to talk about sharing books in baby’s 2nd year.
- Older babies show more obvious preferences. You can use that information to choose books that you know your baby will enjoy.
- Babies will start to point to things to learn new words. They will also start to invite you to read again the books they like. Or they will bring books to you to read to them. Follow their lead. Their drive to explore and understand will lead to deeper engagement and learning.
- Your baby is getting better and better at turning pages—it might look like flipping pages back and forth. They are opening and closing books, over and over. But in time, page turning will become less interesting than what they can find on the pages. And when that happens, you might finally get to read a book, page by page, from beginning to end.
- Keep in mind that your baby’s attention span is still pretty limited. You’ll have to work to keep their attention. Use voices, sound effects, props and actions to get a few extra seconds of their attention when you can.
- Don’t force reading on them. They often want to move around and explore at this stage, and that kind of learning is important too.
- Even when you can’t hold your child’s attention, you can still read to them. They are listening and learning even if they aren’t sitting with you. As the book becomes more and more familiar, they will come by to check out the pictures from time to time.
- They’ll start to sing along with you and chime in when books repeat a familiar phrase over and over. Reading and singing together is an important step to independent reading. Enjoy it!
- Long after your baby starts asking about pictures and objects, they start pointing at words for you to name. You can try pointing to common words. Or try following along with your finger underneath words as you read. Take it easy, and watch for your child’s reaction. If they’re not into it yet, that’s okay. You can try again later.
- Toddlers are busy! Sometimes book sharing works best at the end of the day as part of a bedtime routine. Reading together can be a cozy way to bond, relax and unwind after a hectic day.
If you’re interested in the Books for Babies program, visit the Centre for Family Literacy website at www.famlit.ca