Choosing Books for Babies and Toddlers

Ready, Set… Learn to Read!: Books for Babies and Toddlers

Long before children speak they are collecting words. Reading stories, singing lullabies and reciting nursery rhymes to babies help build a rich foundation for language for the coming years. The illustrations in books help babies to recognize simple objects in their world. And the intimacy and warmth of shared reading is a joy for both baby and parent.

Look for these:

  • Books with repetition of sounds and words.
  • Books that say a lot with simple language.
  • Books that illustrate the primary things in your child’s life.
  • Books that are just the right size for small hands.
  • Books of nursery rhymes, lullabies and songs.
  • Books that are sturdy and will stand up to being chewed, pounded or covered in mushed banana.
  • Books with simple, uncluttered illustrations of familiar shapes.
  • Books that have physical “tricks” such as finger holes, opening doors and peek holes to encourage interaction and involvement.
  • Wordless books that stimulate babies and toddlers visually and mentally and encourage them to create their own stories.
  • Books in various formats such as board books, cloth books, small chunky books and plastic “bath” books.

Activities to Bring Books and Babies Together

  • Visit your local public library regularly. Your child will soon learn that books are an important and fun part of life.
  • Babies love the rhymes, repetition and rhythms of nursery rhymes. Make them a part of your daily life. While dressing recite “One, two, buckle my shoe,” in the kitchen say “Mix and stir and pat in the pan,” or when you go for a walk sing “Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.”
  • Encourage family members and friends to buy books as presents for your baby or toddler and for all your children.
  • Share books with your baby or toddler at a time when they are most alert and full of curiosity. And let them explore books in their own way — grabbing, patting, poking and literally eating them up!
  • Have books visible in different places around the house, not just confined to bookshelves.