Share a book every day - Parents information

cartoon of 2 children reading a book
Tips for sharing a book
  • Try and find somewhere away from noise and television and make sure you are not using your mobile phone
  • Make sure you take time to look and talk about the pictures on the pages
  • If your baby chews books to start with, it doesn't matter. They will soon enjoy helping you to turn the pages
  • The use of sound effects for example animal noises will help to bring the story to life and make you both laugh 
  • Encourage family members such as siblings to join in and share a book with your child 
  • For older children, ask some questions when reading together, for example; what can you see on this page? How do you think Goldilocks felt when she saw the bears? What do you think is going to happen next?
  • As your child's language develops encourage your child to tell the story. They can read the pictures to you and talk about what's happening on the page
  • If you think you are not a brilliant reader it doesn't matter because just hearing and listening to your voice is comforting for you baby 
How to read aloud to older children
  1. Keep it fun
    Reading shouldn't be a chore. When children's experiences are pleasant they are more likely to develop a life-long love of reading
  2. Read with energy 
    Use lots of energy. Using facial expressions and emotion: different voices for different characters; and varying the tempo and volume that you read with will help to create an immersive storytelling experience your children will love. 
  3. Ask questions
    Asking questions as you read can improve understanding and get the child to be an active participant in the reading experience
  4. Explain as you go 
    Explaining what is happening on the pages and allowing time to talk about it as you go through the book can deepen your child's understanding and expand their vocabulary
  5. Point out words
    Pointing out words can really help younger children when it comes to learning to read. Scanning from left to right, as well as showing what a letter and a word is, has been shown to help develop advanced reading skills. 
  6. Look at the pictures/illustrations in the book
    Talking about the pictures in the book is just as important as reading the words
  7. Get them to read along with you 
    This would work especially well with your favourite rhyming books that you have read so many times with them that they can remember parts
  8. Reread the same book 
    This is linked to the above point as it will give them the confidence to join in and helps build fluency and a better understanding of rhythm and language
  9. Encourage the child to retell the story to you
    When they are confident with the story see if they can recite parts of it to you or someone else on their own. This will improve their confidence and help develop their memory and speaking skills.
What happens when you read to your baby or child?
  • Your child will hear a wider variety of words which will increase their vocabulary 
  • The more you read to your child the more you will strengthen their brain connections
  • You help them become lifelong readers with a love for books
  • Reading aloud will help increase their ability to pay attention and concentrate, and helps develop listening skills
  • You will build a stronger bond with your child - children love adults to read aloud with them, especially because of the physical closeness and emotional bonding it offers
  • Stimulates their imagination and expands their understanding of the world 
  • You help increase your child's capacity for empathy
  • Helps prepare them to understand the written word
Why reading is good for babies and younger children

Sharing books with babies and young children is a fun way to share talk. You and your child will enjoy the experience, which means there is a strong chance it will become a regular activity.

Talking and listening to young children develops their social and literacy skills and reading aloud is a good way of encouraging two-way communication.

Babies love the sound of their parents' voices and reading aloud to them can be calming during times of distress or unease. Coupled with the appearance of their favourite book and/or character, it can be a very soothing experience and help build the bond between you and your child.

Books introduce children to the exciting world of stories and help them learn to express their own thoughts and emotions.

Stories provide parents and carers with a structure to help them talk to children and listen to their responses. It helps overcome adult inhibitions and provides topics for discussion.

Reading together gives babies and young children the chance to respond. A gurgle in anticipation of a favourite story ending, or a smile of enjoyment, shows you that young children like to communicate and do so from a very young age.

Characters, words and sounds discovered through books can be talked about outside of reading time. Books are an important source of new vocabulary.

Songs and rhymes are especially good for children as the rhythms and repetitive language make it easier for babies to learn language skills.

Reading aloud combines the benefits of talking, listening and storytelling within a single activity and helps to build the foundation for language development.

The majority of brain development occurs in the first 3 years of a child's life. Reading to babies and young children, and giving them time to respond, will help make the most of this opportunity

Page last reviewed: 10/08/2022

Skip back to top of page