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Babies (Birth to 6 Months)

Back to Reading By The Ages


Birth to 6 Months

Newborns are calmed by the rhythmic sounds of lullabies and nursery rhymes. These will be their first stories. Your baby may even begin to recognize a song or rhyme if you repeat it often. By the time she is 4 months old, your baby will show an interest in books and start to explore them by chewing or throwing them. At this age, your baby needs sturdy vinyl or cloth books that can survive chewing and are not easily torn. 

6 to 12 Months Old

During this period, babies become less interested in mouthing books and more interested in the story. You can promote your baby's interest in books by looking at books with him and talking about the pictures, especially those that interest your baby. Invite your 8 or 9 month-old baby to turn the pages. If you are raising your baby to become bilingual, this is a good time to introduce objects to your baby and tell her the words for them in both languages.  At this age, many babies will enjoy looking at a specific book that has been read over and over, whether it be Pretty Brown Face or Pat the Bunny. Making a habit of reading together is one of the best ways to encourage a lifelong love of reading. And, babies can go the library and enjoy story hour!

12 to 18 Months Old

Babies delight in reading together with adults. Your baby will turn pages and name pictures of fams of familiar objects. She may begin to enjoy books that tell simple stories. Because babies are natural explorers, they love books like Pat the Bunny, which they can touch and sniff while listening to the story.  Although you can read the story, most babies will be more interested in looking at the pictures and turning the pages than in hearing you read a story. Even older babies may be more interested in asking, "What's that?" to pictures in a book than in hearing an entire story. Don't worry if your baby loses interest before you look at all the pages. Reading a little bit on a regular basis is more important than reading for extended periods of time.


  • Snuggle up with a book.
  • Choose baby-friendly books, books with bright and bold or high-contract illustrations are easier for young babies to see, and will grab their attention.
  • Keep books where your baby can reach them.
  • Talk with your baby all day long, describe things and ask questions.
  • Encourage your baby's coos, growls and gurgles.
  • Encourage your baby to pick up crackers or peas, touch noses and toes, point to pictures and grab toys.
  • Develop a daily routine and make reading a part of it.
  • Read favorite stories and sing favorite songs over and over again.