Reading aloud and sharing stories with your baby from birth is one of the most important and enjoyable things you can do. If you’re not sure where or how to start, here are some ideas.
Why reading with your baby is important
Sharing stories, talking and singing helps your baby’s development in lots of ways.
Doing these activities every day helps your baby get familiar with sounds, words, language and, eventually, the value and joy of books. This all builds your baby’s early literacy skills and helps him go on to read successfully later in life.
Reading stories also stimulates your baby’s imagination and helps her learn about the world around her. It’s a great time for you to bond with your baby and share time together too.
You can start reading aloud to your baby as early as you like – the earlier the better. Our articles on
reading stories with babies and children and
developing literacy have more information to get you started.
Sharing books with your baby
Even young babies can learn from the experience of reading books with you. For example, you can:
Here are some general tips to help you make the most of reading time with your little one:
Visit your library – it’s free to join and borrow. The staff will be able to recommend age-appropriate books for you and your baby to enjoy.
What to read with your baby
There are so many books to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start.
As a broad rule, babies enjoy books that have good rhymes, rhythm and repetition. This repetition and rhyming helps children learn.
From when your baby is born, you might like to look for:
Here are some books your baby might enjoy and you can also check the availability of these books from the National Library:
Telling stories with children
Storytelling promotes literacy and language and gets children ready to start reading. Stories about family and culture also give children a sense of their place in the world. You can use actions and rhymes to get children involved in the story.
Video: Telling stories with children
Watch this video to learn about the importance of storytelling, and how you can get your child involved in the stories that you tell.