Reading Tips birth-3

Reading With our Young children ages birth to 3 years old.

Birth to 9 months: Children explore books, hear your voice and enjoy snuggling.


  • like board books, cloth or vinyl books.
  • reach out to grasp or pat the book.
  • use hands to turn pages or grasp the book.
  • point or make sounds while looking at picture books.
  • focus on pages for brief periods of time.

  • allow the child to help turn pages.
  • say more about the pictures after the baby makes sounds or points.
  • name and point to objects.

7 Months – 18 months:  Children join in when you read a book.


  • point to pictures and react to pictures. Example: A child may smile at the picture of a dog.
  • like books with photos of familiar objects like balls or other babies.
  • imitate the parent by attempting to turn pages.
  • imitates the parent by using sounds or babbling as the parent reads.

  • read books that include songs and rhyming books.
  • point and tell about the pictures.
  • create a safe area where books are easily accessible to the child
  • provide the child with opportunities to hold different writing utensils such as large crayons.

16-24 months: Children begin to demonstrate an understanding of reading.


  • enjoy books about bedtime.
  • enjoy books with simple rhymes or predictable text.
  • turn the pages of board books, one by one,
  • point to familiar pictures and actions in books.
  • repeat familiar words in a book when being read to
  • have a favorite book and brings the book over or point to it.
  • begin to know what happens next in a favorite book.


  • encourage the child to repeat words and point to objects that are found in books.
  • talk about what might happen next.
  • agree to read a favorite book over and over and over when asked.

21- 36 months: Children have awareness of letters and words.


  • imitate the parent by pretending to read a book.
  • may read to stuffed animals or dolls.
  • says parts of a book from memory.
  • begin to scribble in a more orderly fashion and names what he or she has drawn
  • tells what happens next when reading a familiar book.
  • enjoy animal books, vehicle books, books about playtime, and books about TV characters.

  • encourage the child to talk about the character and what is happening in the story.
  • encourage the child to guess what is happening next in the story.
  • See the dialogic reading method on the next tab, Reading Tips ages 2-6.


Illinois Early Learning Guidelines
Zero to Three, Sharing Books With Babies