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How to read effectively with babies, toddlers, and young children

father and child with bookBelieve it or not, learn­ing to read begins at birth

Everyone wants to do the best for their baby. Looking at books with your child every day is one of the most important things you can do for her/his future. Sharing books together strengthens your child's foundation for learning. Pointing at pictures in a book, saying rhymes, singing songs, writing words, and playing together makes your child more ready for school. Your baby's ability to learn grows from interacting with you, not a screen or educational toy. Plant the seed for lifelong learning by growing a reading relationship with your baby.

Reading with your little one

baby with book

There are lots of ways to read with your child. Reading can happen at bedtime, on the bus, while you are waiting for an appointment, or after a meal. Any time you have a book to read and a place to sit is a good time to look at books together. Parents, grandparents, siblings, and caring adults are all important readers for young children. Sit close with your child—in your lap, side by side, on a chair, or in bed. Point at the pictures and ask questions. Take time to listen to your child's responses. Read favorite books over and over and find new books at the library.

Using your local public library

Everyone is welcome at the public library. You can read books at the library and enjoy free storytime programs for babies and young children. Getting a library card is free for you and your child. Many libraries have play areas and activities for little learners. Ask your librarian for help finding books for your young child.

© 2013 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction