Parenting Counts is a product of Talaris Institute.


Snuggle Up for Reading (6-24 Months)

“Mommy! Mommy! Book! Book!” he says before you tuck him in for an afternoon nap.

You grab his favorite book, wrap him in your arms and snuggle together for reading time. He helps you turn the pages and proudly finds the mouse hiding in the picture. He giggles for “more!” as you make animal sounds to make reading fun.

In those few moments, your child connects with you. The book brings you together. You are helping him develop the attention and enthusiasm needed for his “emergent literacy” – the growing ability to read and write.

When it comes to literacy, the important thing is to make reading a positive experience.

Building skills, strengthening bonds.

Long before his ABCs and well before kindergarten, your child begins to develop the skills he will need to read and write:

  • He hears how words are used.
  • He will understand and say more words himself.
  • He learns that books are full of fun and new ideas.
  • He will want to learn to read.

Sharing books together creates positive memories:

  • She learns that books can tell her about her world.
  • She knows that reading is important because you take time out to read with her.
  • When she gets to school, she will remember that reading is fun.

Building a bond.

Shared reading time builds a bond between you and your child. Research shows that babies who spend close, loving time together in this way can focus better and are more likely to want to read with their parents when they are 24 months old.

Say “Yes!” to reading together.

Whether it’s a five-minute story before bed or an afternoon visit to the library, all you need to do is say “yes!” to reading together.

Share everyday moments.

Reading books together isn’t the only way to make a difference. Show your child how reading works by sharing common, everyday moments like reading recipes, magazines, or even cereal boxes.

To make reading a positive experience, you and your child should be ready to enjoy your time together. Check your mood as well as your child’s mood before reading. And stop if it’s not working – more is not always better.

Keep reading time interesting!

Get your child involved! Talk about pictures, let her finish sentences, and read along with you. Let your voice get big and small, fast and slow. Use animal sounds and ask questions!

Helpful parenting tips: Read, read, read together!

You will build a bond and prepare your child to learn to read and write.

  • Use reading time as a time to feel close to each other. Read together as often as you can.
  • Have lots of books ready – his interest will change as he grows.
  • Let him choose the book. He may want the same one over and over.
  • Know that not all reading times go smoothly. You can read it again later.
  • Be aware of the mood you are creating.
  • Make reading part of your routine, so it is something you both look forward to.
  • Follow your child’s lead. Keep it fun and make a nice memory of time together