Reading To Your Baby

It may seem kind of silly to read to a newborn since they really won’t understand what’s going on in a book for many months. But it’s important for many reasons. First of all, it is a way that you are communicating and interacting with your sweet baby. She hears your voice, the inflections and flow of how you read. As she grows older and more active, she will still enjoy cuddling up in your lap to read a story.

Second of all, it becomes a habit and something that you can look forward to at certain times throughout the day. Before naps and bedtime always works well for us–plus it creates a naptime/bedtime routine so your child knows what is coming next.
Finally, it sets the stage for learning new words and vocabulary. Many of Big Brother’s first words were words he heard us read over and over. Reading significantly enhances your baby’s language development.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to buy your baby a bazillion books. Most libraries have a collection of board books especially for babies (if you don’t see them at your local library–ask your librarian if you can request them from another library). Garage sales are another great place to find books for babies.


Here are some “types” of books that I recommend for babies from birth to 12 months:

  • Board books:  These are cardboard-like books that won’t tear easily and are sturdy enough to survive being chewed on (which your baby will most certainly do once she begins putting everything in her mouth).
  • Books with real picturesAs children are learning about their world, it is important that they see actual pictures represented in books. Illustrations most definitely have their place in your library, but books showing real pictures will especially help with a baby’s language development as she approaches her first birthday.
  • Books with texture:  As your baby starts learning more about her world, she will become fascinated with texture. Books with texture are great for introducing words such as rough, smooth, furry, silky, etc. and for making comparisons.
  • Cloth books: These books are also sturdy enough to survive being chewed on and they often include texture as well. Many of them have flaps to lift and crinkly paper inside them (babies love the noise it makes).

Don’t be afraid to read the same books over and over…your child will actually enjoy the repetition!

Here are just a very small few of our favorites for babies 12 months and under. What are your favorites?


  1. Question: I have a 9 month old who STILL loves to try and grab most books out of my hand and put them in her mouth. Not sure how to overcome this? It has made me sideline reading to her as regularly as I would like to, since it just becomes somewhat of a mild battle keeping them out of her mouth. Any suggestions?

  2. I am a retired Kinder teacher and now a grandmother taking care of my 13 month old grandson. I had the same experience with him and my three year old when they were about 7-10 months old. That is the reason they need the cloth, plastic, cardboard books; they need to explore and discover anything new that is introduced to them. I tried reading word for word from even the simplest books but I remembered that their attention span is so short. I then did picture walks with them and just discussed the picture and sounds the animals made or sounds drums made etc. (Choose books with big pictures or real pictures). He then got interested in the books and I model to turn the pages which he loves. If he turns the page ahead of time, just go on to the next page. He has learned to turn the page, point, imitate sounds, pounds or does character action. It gets so much better. He now, at 13 months points and tells me “boop” meaning book. It is so much fun to cuddle and read to your little one. Hope this helped.

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