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Read and Discuss Stories

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Reading is among the most important things you can to do to prepare your child for school. The benefits of reading to babies are almost endless.

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It’s never too early to begin reading to your baby. Even talking to them and looking at books before they may understand the words is effective. So snuggle up together and create some cherished memories that will last a lifetime!

Reading helps early literacy development, sparks imagination and builds connections. 

Watch the video and explore our tips below to learn everyday ways to read and discuss stories.


Our favorite tips on how to Read and Discuss Stories:

Read regularly and with expression

Your baby won’t understand you for a while, but that’s fine! They will hear your voice, see the pictures and develop positive feelings about books.

keep it simple

Books with hardcovers and thick pages are made especially for babies. Choose books that are short and have simple, bright pictures.

snuggle up

Hold your baby in your lap so they feel cozy and can see the pictures.

involve them

They might want to hold the book, turn the pages or pat the pictures. They might even chew on the book. It’s all part of learning!

describe the pictures

It’s not important to read all — or any — of the words. Point to the pictures and describe the colors, shapes and what the characters are doing.

follow their lead

When they start to lose interest, try another book or stop. Short periods of reading work best.

help them follow along

Point to the words and pictures. Talk about the colors, shapes and what the characters are doing.

ask questions

For example, ask “What do you think will happen next?” or “Why is the girl happy?” Respond to your child’s comments and questions. Show your interest in their ideas.

have a routine

Try to read together everyday. Before bed is a great time, but choose whenever works best for your family.

warm up

Before you open the book, check out the cover, read the title and look at the pictures. Ask your child what they think the story is about.

change your voice

Try using different voices for different characters.

don't be too serious

Your toddler may want to turn the page before you have finished reading it. If they can’t sit still for the whole book, that’s OK.

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Sign up for Basics Insights

Basics Insights is a free text messaging program for parents and caregivers of infants and toddlers that sends science-based tips to boost your child's development.

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