This is the age children start to become more interested in books, especially if they’ve been exposed since birth. Babies between 6-12 months are busy bees. This is when crawling starts and a lot of times walking. So how do you keep a baby engaged while reading that wants to explore everything? Here are 6 tips that helped us.

Let them turn the pages

They may need a little help with this one and smaller board books are most manageable. This action not only helps them develop their fine motor skills, but you will see the pride in your baby’s eyes when they turn a page, and you provide positive reinforcement. Babies love to do things by themselves and allowing them to participate in page turning it will definitely hold their attention. Also, did you know turning pages is actually a developmental milestone of early literacy!?

Read lift-the-flap-books

These were a favorite with my son. (and still are!) There is something enticing about a hidden picture that babies can’t resist. Babies can be pretty rough at this age, so I suggest felt flaps or even some board have flaps. You could also help build the suspense by asking your baby “What do you think is behind that flap?!” then when they lift it act surprised and name the picture or read the words. My son would sometimes sit independently and lift the flap, then close the flap, lift the flap, close the flap. This is great too, also a sign of early literacy!

Point to pictures on the page

Around this age your baby will start to understand that pictures represent real life objects. They may even have started to develop a preference of pictures or books. Pointing to and naming images support your baby’s language development. Your baby may even start to point to things themselves and this is a great opportunity to have a “conversation” about the image or story. Babies comprehension is often more developed, meaning they understand when we speak even though they cannot speak yet. Which brings me to my next point! Lol

Ask questions and let them babble back

Your baby may respond while you read by grabbing the book or making sounds. This often indicates they favor what they’re seeing. Asking questions and letting them babble back becomes “conversation” that teaches them to take turns and allows them to focus on something with another person. If your baby points to a car on the page you could say “yes, car! What color is the car?” Of course, they won’t respond with a color, but they may start to converse in. When they finish you can say “Yes that car is red!” This sets the stage for early literacy and language development.

Read the same books over and over

Babies crave repetition, just think when your little one has learned a new word and they say it ALL day on repeat. Again, around this age babies can develop a preference in books and are more likely to engage if it’s a book they enjoy. Repetition is how they learn, so don’t be afraid to read that same book for the 10th time that day. Each time read it with the same emphasis as you would a favorite song.

Have a daily reading time

Just like repetition children thrive on routine. Routine allows them to feel safe and secure because they know what to expect and when to expect it. Choosing at least one reading time that is the same every day will help engage your child. Reading sporadically throughout the day is great as well. During a bedtime routine is very popular and probably the most doable. Your baby will come to expect and love the time you spend together snuggled up reading at the end of your day.

Raising a reader is arduous and intentional work but the benefits it provides are immeasurable. The gift of literacy is the best gift you can give and it’s one that will last a lifetime.

Happy Reading