Enjoy reading with your child as often as you can, wherever you are and from the earliest age.

Imagination Library

From birth

Children learn about the world from the day they are born – reading, holding and talking to children from birth helps to create positive attachment.

Tips for reading to newborns:

  • Find a time each day to read books, even if they are sleeping in your arms.
  • Hold them close and let them touch the pages.
  • Black and white picture books are great in the early days, as babies 
  • Introduce books into the bedtime routine. 
  • Sing nursery rhymes and songs. 
  • Mimic  sounds and expressions your baby makes.
  • Keep books in your child’s play area and in your nappy bag so your baby knows they are for play.

 From 6 months – 12 months 

  • Babies may begin to explore books by looking, touching (opening/closing), and mouthing them.
  • By 9 months, they may prefer stories or pictures.
  • Your baby may also continue to occasionally mouth books.
  • In the early years, that is a normal book behavior and tells us that babies want to explore books!

From 1 year

  • Children at this age love books with hidden items like peekaboo, read along with enthusiasm giving them time to open the flaps or say ‘boo’.
  • Children love music and songs, books that have song type words and make sounds are great fun.
  • Point to words and pictures as you read.
  • Information books are fun at this age, for example ‘Little Carry Books Pets’. You can point to the animals ‘Puppy, woof woof’.
  • Take a book out and about with you on your daily adventures, books are great entertainment.

 From 18 months

  • Stop along the way in the story and ask them questions like ‘Look it’s a dog, what does a dog say?’ Give them time to answer you, they will be thinking very hard.
  • You might re-read the book a few times before your child is ready to move onto the next thing, this is great as they are really enjoying reading with you.
  • Have books in the car and pram for longer outings. Books with things to touch and feel are still very fun.
  • Your child may be very attached to a toy at home such as a teddy bear. Encourage time for your child to read to their bear. Teddy can also read with you when you read to your child.
  • Leave books in your child’s play area so they can go to them and read, look and play with them during their play time.

18months – 2 years

  • Find a time each day where you can read together.
  • Sit with them while you read.
  • Visit the library and borrow new books.
  • Your child may stop you when reading to clarify a point such as ‘Where is the dog Mumma?’ or say ‘Daddy, dog goes woof.’ Encourage and play along with them, ‘Where is the dog darling?’ or ‘Yes bubba dog does go woof woof!’
  • Singing songs and nursery rhymes such as ‘Hey diddle diddle’ are to make your child laugh and encourage them to sing along too.
  • Choosing books with fun characters can lead into your play time. For instance dressing up like a prince or princess, pretending to be a frog, or playing hide and seek like in the story.
  • Your child might be starting to draw and paint, you may like to draw pictures from a story they love or find a coloring in book of a character they like, such as Spot.

2year – 3 years

  • Allow your child to suggest times where they may want to read.
  • Encourage your child to read a book during the day on their own. They may commentate a book they know with their own words, this is a great sign that they are understanding what they read.
  • Join Storytime at the library.
  • Make up stories with them from books you may have read such as ‘Can you think of another adventure Peter Rabbit might have in Mr McGregor’s garden?’
  • Point out words and symbols when you are out and about. ‘Look the sign says STOP we better STOP now.’
  • Singing songs and nursery rhymes are still so fun! You might want to put a CD in your car or have music playing at home during play time.

3 years – 4 years

  • Encourage your child to direct the kind of books they enjoy reading, such as a special interest in frogs or a series of books.
  • Make reading an active part of their play time. Keep a comfy spot and books ready for some time out to read with you, with a friend or sibling or on their own.
  • Allow your child to read to you, they may read a story they know or make a story up along the way.
  • Your child may be learning letters of the alphabet, when reading you may find an opportunity to say ‘oh what letter is that?’
  • Singing songs, nursery rhymes, making up new songs are so much fun. Encourage this and sing along too!