Read to me, I love it

baby and dad reading a bookReading doesn't take any special skills or fancy equipment. It is free. It can be a whole lot of fun. And every minute that you read to your baby will have a huge impact.

As your child grows the way that you read together will change. In these early years reading should be something that you do every day, and most of all it should be fun.

 

Tips for reading to your baby

Be comfortable.

Mother and baby laying togetherMake yourself comfortable. Turn off the TV and radio so that you can have some special quiet time together with a book.

Snuggle up together in your favourite chair. Reading a book is a wonderful time for a cuddle, it helps your baby feel safe and loved.

It's great to make reading a part of your daily routine. Quiet books can be used to soothe baby at bed-time, noisy ones can add some fun to your day

Be silly.

Baby with book on her headYour voice is your baby's favourite sound in the whole world! You can use your voice to make the story interesting - make silly noises, be loud and quiet as you read, try different accents and voices.

Add some actions. Bouncing baby on your knee, acting like the animals in the book, tickling and cuddling will all give you lots of baby smiles and giggles.

Sing nursery rhymes and songs. Singing is a great way to share different words with you baby. (Don't worry if you think you can't sing - your baby will love to hear you!)

Be flexible.

baby in a pramDon't feel that you have to read a whole book in one sitting. Especially when baby is feeling wriggly or grumpy! Reading just a few pages at a time is ok.

You can take books with you to read anywhere. When you're stuck waiting at the doctors, on the bus, at the park...

Babies learn in different ways. Don't panic when your baby puts a book in their mouth. (This is how babies learn that books are for reading, not eating!) One way that babies learn by is touching - let them hold and feel the book. Sturdy board books are designed just for this.

Be curious.

baby chewing on a bookDon't worry about reading every single word in the book. Ask and answer your own questions about the story and the pictures. "That baby is eating beans, what do you like to eat? You like bananas, all yummy and squishy. " Look at what your baby is looking at on the page and talk about that.

Babies learn from repetition. Reading the same books over and over again will not only help them learn, you will discover new things in your favourite books every time.

Read anything! Read from the newspaper and magazines, catalogues and street signs. If it has words on it, you can read it. This way you will be sharing lots of new and different words with your baby.

Be supported.

Librarian giving mother a better beginnings bagYou are not alone. If you would like advice, or help choosing books, pop into your local library. Many libraries also have Baby Rhyme Time sessions where you can meet lots of parents and find great books to borrow.

Reading is for the whole family. Everyone can read to baby - mums and dads, grandparents, aunties and uncles, brothers and sisters!

 

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I always knew reading to my kids was important, but this has opened my eyes to how important and how much.
Parent
 

I tell stories in Vietnamese and read to my children in English.  I only started reading English after receiving Better Beginnings. 
Parent
 

One mother reads with her four year old every afternoon after school now.  She said without these books, they would not have any to read. 
Teacher, Remote Community School
 

I always knew reading to my kids was important, but this has opened my eyes to how important and how much.
Parent

I think it’s been a wonderful initiative.  I feel sure it’s going to benefit both the children and parents and develop links with the library.
Teacher
 

 

It’s wonderful to have support across the community emphasising the importance of reading and language development. 
Community Health Nurse
 

…I never thought of reading to the children.  Better Beginnings has really boosted my confidence.
Parent

Better Beginnings gave me confidence. I know reading is an everyday tool and teaching my children will help them be more successful in life.
Parent