Helping Your Child Become a Reader - Part 6

Helping Your Child Become a Reader - Part 6

Baby Talk




For babies from birth to 1 year

Babies love hearing your voice. When you answer your child’s sounds with sounds of your own, she learns that what she “says” has meaning and is important to you.

What to Do

Talk to your baby often. Answer her coos, gurgles, and smiles. Talk, touch, and smile back. Get her to look at you.
Play simple talking and touching games with your baby. Ask, “Where’s your nose?” Then touch her nose and say playfully, “There’s your nose!” Do this several times, then switch to an ear or knee or tummy. Stop when she (or you) grows tired of the game.

Change the game by touching the nose or ear and repeating the word for it several times. Do this with objects, too. When she hears you name something over and over again, your child begins to connect the sound with what it means.
Do things that interest your baby. Vary your tone of voice, make funny faces, sing lullabies, and recite simple nursery rhymes. Play “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake” with her.

It’s so important to talk to your baby! With your help, her coos and gurgles will one day give way to words.

Books and Babies

Books For babies from age 6 weeks to 1 year

Sharing books is a way to have fun with your baby and to start him on the road to becoming a reader.

What You Need

Cardboard or cloth books with large, simple pictures of things with which babies are familiar
Lift-the-flap, touch-and-feel, or peek-through play books

What to Do

Read to your baby for short periods several times a day. Bedtime is always a good time, but you can read at other times as well—while you’re in the park, on the bus, or even at the breakfast table (without the food!).
As you read, point out things in the pictures. Name them as you point to them.
Give your baby sturdy books to look at, touch, and hold. Allow him to peek through the holes or lift the flaps to discover surprises.

Babies soon recognise the faces and voices of those who care for them. As you read to your baby, he will begin to connect books with what he loves most—your voice and closeness.


Adapted from U.S. Department of Education
Office of Intergovernmental and Interagency Affairs
Helping Your Child Become a Reader
Washington, D.C., 20202