The best way to read with your 1-year-old

In previous blog postswe have highlighted the importance of making a habit out of reading to your baby every day, bringing special one-on-one quality time that strengthens your bond. Depending on your baby’s age, you can focus on different aspects of the reading experience, but what’s the best way to share books with a 1-year-old? The American Academy of Pediatrics has created a literacy toolkit that includes great tips for parents and caregivers who wish to make the most out of reading time!This blog post will summarize a few key points about reading with a 1-year-old throughout three stages: 12 – 14 months, 15 – 17 months and 18 – 24 months. Within each age range, you’ll find examples of what your child can do and what you can do to maximize the reading experience!

12 to 14 months old

Your child can: At this stage, your little one can probably pick a favorite book to read with you and point to pictures he wants you to look at, too! Your baby will most likely explore the book all over, turning it upside down, opening or closing it, and even putting it in his or her mouth. He or she will try to copy your reactions while reading and pay attention for a few minutes at a time.

You can: Find a quiet, cozy place where you and your child can cuddle up and read together. While reading, name and point at the pictures your child is looking at or pointing to. Help your child to turn the pages, following his interest. Read joyfully, using different tones of voice for each character. You can also ask your child questions he or she can answer by pointing to things, like “Where’s the kitty?” Also imitate your child’s sounds and talk to him about the pictures in the book with short phrases.

15 to 17 months old

Your child can: At this stage, your youngster can pick a favorite book to read with you and look at familiar pictures making sounds for some of them, like the different animals. While reading, your little one will pay attention for a few minutes at a time and laugh, squeal, and point while loving reading time with you.

You can: Find a quiet, cozy place where you and your child can cuddle up and read together. Let your little one choose which book he or she wants to read with you, even if it’s the same one from last time (and the last)! While reading, name and point at the pictures your child is looking at or pointing to. Read joyfully, using different tones of voice for each character and copying the sounds or words he or she says while looking at a picture, adding a few more words to complete a phrase. You can also name and demonstrate actions or emotions that show up in books, like smiling. You can say “Look at the girl smiling” and then smile to your toddler.

18 to 23 months old

Your child can: At this stage, your little one can pick the book he or she wants to share with you and point at familiar pictures, saying a word or two about it. If the book includes animals, your child will probably make their sounds. Also, you are reading a book that is very familiar, your little one will be able to finish some sentences such as: “Twinkle, twinkle little …. (star).” This is also a good age to enjoy a trip to the local library for story time or to find new books!

You can: Find a quiet, cozy place where you and your child can cuddle up and read together. Reading time can become a way to calm and comfort your child, especially if it’s part of your nighttime routine. Let your little one choose which book he or she wants to read with you, even if it’s the same one from last time (and the last)! Help your toddler understand by speaking slowly and in short sentences. Read joyfully, using different tones of voice for each character and copy the sounds or words he or she says while looking at a picture, adding a few more words to complete a phrase. You can also pretend to be characters from the book, acting as babies, puppies, or whatever you’re reading about!


 

Get more information about the benefits of reading to your baby at all ages and a few resources you can use to help you along the way with the Books Build Connections Toolkit from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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