I always knew reading to my kids was important, but this has opened my eyes to how important and how much.
Growing and learning every day...
As your little one grows you will notice exciting changes every day. There are lots of little things you can do at home to nurture their development as they grow and learn.
Tiny babies can focus on objects 25-30 cm away. Hold the book up at about this distance. Hold it nice and still so that they can look for as long as they like to.
Babies can distinguish and focus on faces immediately after birth. They love to look at you as you talk, smile sing and play with them.
Babies soon learn to follow objects with their eyes and turn their whole head to look at something. Point to pictures as you read and watch Baby ‘track’ across the page.
Babies can see bright colours. This is the time to show them the nursery rhyme frieze from your bag and notice which one they focus on the longest.
Babies begin to notice their own hands and reach for things. Your baby will want to touch or hold the book while you read.
Babies begin to recognise voices and to enjoy music and rhythm. Visit your library for Baby Rhyme Time. Your little one will enjoy looking at all the other babies, as well as the songs and rhymes.
Babies can hold (and let go) of things, and explore the world by putting things in their mouths. Your baby will want to chew, lick and bite on the book while reading. If you are worried about damage to baby or the book, give them something else to hold.
Babies crawl and start to walk. Babies are sometimes too busy to sit on a lap and listen as they have done before.
Books at bedtime become important around this time, and rhymes and songs can be shared while changing nappies or in the car.
Toddlers can handle a book and turn the pages.
They can start to choose their own books at the library.
First words appear and your toddler's vocabulary starts to grow. Naming and concept books are fun to share together (pointing and naming is just for fun – it is not meant to be a reading lesson!) Look for books with groups of pictures; this helps make more to talk about.
Toddlers can hold a pencil or crayon and make marks with it. This is the beginning of their understanding that scribbles and signs tell a story.
Toddlers like to listen to stories and look at books with other children. The transition from Rhyme Time to Storytime at the library can begin now if your toddler is ready.
Your toddler can be understood and has a vocabulary of about 50 words. Listening to stories and rhymes every day builds their vocabulary.
Toddlers start to join in with parts of the story that are familiar and develop favourites. Try not to get impatient or bored with reading the same story over and over. This repetition builds important pre-literacy skills.
These milestones are based on the Building Literacy Before School @ Your Library Training and Development program developed for Better Beginnings by Susan Hill.