First 5 Years

Reading Milestones - When You're Reading with Baby

BPL - FFY, Read, Mother reading to baby in a rocking chair

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While every child is different, here is what babies do with books and what to expect when you are sharing a story with them:

From birth to 3 months, your baby:
  • prefers books with high-contrast colors and patterned designs.
  • looks at the pictures but might not want to touch the book.
  • gazes at you when you sing songs or share nursery rhymes.
At 4 to 6 months, your baby:
  • explores books by putting them in her mouth.
  • investigates books by patting, grabbing and pulling pages.
  • may coo and babble at you when you read.
At 6 to 12 months, your baby:

BPL - FFY, Read, Baby playing with bunny stuff-toy

  • babbles at some of the pictures.
  • can turn the pages with your help.
  • plays with books like toys.
At 12 to 18 months, your child:
  • can hold or carry books without help.
  • looks at books independently.
  • may look at a book briefly and then switch to another book or activity.
  • uses his index finger to point at the illustrations.
At 18 to 24 months, your child:
  • may say some of the words and phrases in familiar books.
  • pretends to read and mimics reading behaviors of grown-ups.
  • may want to hear a favorite story over and over again for fun and comfort.
  • may like to carry favorite books around when on the go.

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Illustrations © copyright 2001 by Marla Frazee from EVERYWHERE BABIES by Susan Meyers. Reproduced by permission of Harcourt, Inc.