Unlock Your Baby’s Inner Bookworm

Reading to Babies

books for babies

If there is something you want to learn about you can find it in a book. Want to travel the world? Go there in a book! You can even travel through time or to magical worlds. Reading exercises your brain, increases your vocabulary, and is free (with a library’s card). I would guess kids who like to read do better in school too.

Kids who like to read become adults who like to read.
Kids who like to read start out as babies who like to be read to.
Babies who like to be read to do not just naturally exist.

Babies know what they need. Babies have way more important things to do than read like play, play, and play! They want to explore their world. They want to move and pick up objects, feel them, taste them, and take them apart. In fact if you give a baby a regular book they will most likely taste it and then take it apart (permanently)!

Babies can also be fiercely independent wanting to do things themselves. How do you read to a baby who insists on holding and ripping books?

Here’s what has worked for us

1. Don’t give up and assume your baby doesn’t like to be read to like I was about to do with my first until I found cloth books.  Get cloth books and get a bunch of them! There’s a lot of great ones out there. I especially love these…

Your baby can hold them and play with them and taste them and stomp on them and try her darnedest to deconstruct them until her heart’s content. They are indestructible.  Everyone’s happy!

2. Have books accessible. Put cloth books and/or board books in a basket on the floor for baby to pick through. Babies like time to look at books on their own. They may try “reading” to themselves or flip through until they are curious enough to bring one to you or they may just want to look at the pictures. Sometimes that is all I want to do!

3. Also start with other lap time activities everyday like songs, finger plays, and nursery rhymes which will develop you child’s attention span, interest, and listening skills.

4. Next seize short reading opportunities throughout the day. If your babies bring you a book drop everything, praise her, and read the book together. Make it fun but allow it to be short. First books should have very few words. Babies can have flea-like attention spans.

5. Set an example. Let her see you enjoying books. Babies love to mimic.

6. Right from the start babies have their own personality. Am I right?! Pick books according to their interests. Does your baby love music? Pick sing along books. Does she love animals? Other babies? Funny sounds? Get books with playful elements like sounds, texture, pockets.  Make some books of your own too with pictures of family members or whatever!

7. Babies love the same book over and over. Allow them that pleasure but also keep them interested with new choices all the time. We can all get in a reading rut.

AND don’t forget to read with enthusiasm! Here is a free printable poster with 50 ways to do just that.

Reading isn’t everything though, for example it is pretty hard to learn how to do something hands on from a book. If you want to learn to crochet, play an instrument, or fold a play tent you really need someone to show you how. I love YouTube for instructions too. And of course anything you want to learn to do you have to practice. Babies know this instinctively. Babies have a lot of skills to develop and they do it through mimicking, exploring, and play but they can spare a few minutes here and there to begin to cultivate an interest in books!

Furthered reading…

What are some things that work for you and your baby? Please share!


I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! doodlesandjots@hotmail.com. If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


    • I like to do that with my older kids. We sit on my bed with a stack of library books and we all look at our own and/or read together.

  1. Great post and tips, Ann! We are a family of readers (as you know) and we started with cloth books, too. Actually, I have a feeling we live in the rule number 2: we have more books than furniture.
    That’s also not really healthy I am afraid! 😉
    Alexandra recently posted..Good habits: reading timeMy Profile

    • Oh Alexandra, I am addicted to books! My daughter’s school have a rack of library discards for people to take and I took way more than my fair! I got some great older nonfiction picks!

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