What’s going on for baby?

During this period a child is likely to enjoy books, and may begin attending to stories more — but that usually depends on how much ‘book time’ they’ve had already. Some can’t sit still for a whole book, but are interested in the pictures and are likely to find details in them.

Stories and books can be a way to talk about things that may be scary or unknown, from the safety of a parent’s knee.

Book sharing also builds both ‘receptive’ (understanding) and ‘expressive’ (speaking) language, and increases the child’s understanding of people, places and things.

And if books are part of a child’s life now, they’ll develop a love of books that will later build strong reading skills.

How can parents and whānau help?

  • Share all sorts of books — fact and fiction — with their toddler every day, and talk about what’s on the pages.
  • Keep reading even if their child (or their child’s focus) has wandered away — they might come back.
  • Enrol their toddler in the local library so they can ‘bring the whole world home’.
  • Ask at the library for ideas on books that cover potentially scary topics for their child — for example, dogs or sirens. Parents can read the books with their child and talk about the topics.
  • Introduce more books with paper pages, but be prepared to supervise — especially if the books are borrowed or precious ones.
  • Watch and learn what books and topics their toddler is interested in.
  • Add words to their child’s vocabulary by naming what they can see in the pictures, or what sounds and feelings might be associated with them.

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