20 Ways to Raise a
Book-Smart Baby
Early Literacy Experiences for Babies and Toddlers
  1. Read to your child daily from birth on. Read several times during the day, even if it’s for just a few minutes at a time.
  2. When your baby begins to handle his own books, give him board books with heavy pages, rounded edges, and uncluttered pictures. Around 12 months, share lift-the-flap books for peekaboo experiences. When toddlers are ready, choose books with paper pages and just one or two sentences per page.
  3. Invite your toddler to help pick out books. And yes, it’s good to read her favorites over and over again, as she will begin to recognize words.
  4. Talk about the pictures—both illustrations and photographs. Ask simple “what”
    questions, point to words occasionally, and eventually let your child help turn pages.
  5. Do not attempt to teach your child to read. (No drilling or memorizing!) Your reading experiences together should always be fun.
  6. When your baby makes sounds, imitate them. After repeating his sounds a few times, make new sounds for him to imitate.
  7. Talk to your child during everyday activities and daily routines. Introduce new and unusual words to her.
  8. Provide experiences that allow you to introduce new words to your child. For example, at the zoo or on a farm you can introduce animal names and sounds; on a nature walk, introduce plant and insect names.
  9. When you are at a store, the post office, a restaurant, or any other public place, point to words on the signs that are everywhere and read them to your child.
  10. Read, sing, and chant nursery rhymes with your child. Make up motions to go with the rhymes.