Sharing Stories with Babies and Toddlers

Any time from Breakfast to Bedtime is the right time to share a story.

It’s never too early to start the wonderful time spent snuggling together with a book.

From the moment babies can hear sounds, the voices of their families and carers become familiar and comforting. Gentle lullabies soothe babies, games of ‘peek-a-boo’ make them chuckle and the rhythmic sounds of a story or rhyme will delight them.

You can start with the very youngest:

  • share the songs and rhymes you remember from your own childhood
  • make up a story about your day together

Just ten minutes of your busy day sharing a story or rhyme will be time well spent. If you need help to get going:

  • visit your local library to join in with groups like Baby Bounce & Rhyme
  • at home have a go at the songs and activities you learnt in the library
  • borrow some library books to get more stories to share – the librarians will be more than happy to give you recommendations

The secret is for you and your child to ENJOY it, so try to make it FUN!

Reading to your child is an act of love

As babies begin to understand more, it is time to enjoy books together. Don’t feel ‘shy’ about reading out loud. Your child will love it – and no one else need hear you. Sharing books and talking to children about what is going on from page to page helps little ones pick up lots of new words just by pointing and saying what they see. Gradually, toddlers will learn:

  • word patterns in traditional tales: e.g. Once upon a time… , Trip trap, trip, trap
  • over the rickety, rackety bridge
  • things about stories: e.g. characters can be good or bad, happy or sad, etc.
  • the differing meanings made between words and pictures
  • the way books ‘work’ by turning pages, pointing at pictures & reading words

Join the World Book Day Campaign

Reading with your child for just ten minutes every day can make a crucial difference.

Reading for pleasure is the single biggest indicator of a child’s academic success. To your children, no one will be as good as you are at enjoying books with them. Just ten minutes a day sharing a story will:

  • foster a close and loving relationship between you and your child
  • give you and your child a lot of shared pleasure
  • develop your child’s skills with both spoken and written language
  • help build the foundations of learning when they set off to school

Great picture books to share with babies and toddlers

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
  • Oi Frog! by Kes Gray & Jim Field
  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
  • The Bumblebear by Nadia Shireen
  • Spex for Rex by Yasmeen Ismail

Join the World Book Day Campaign! Sharing stories with . . . babies and toddlers

For more recommendations of fantastic picture books to share visit

Article From World Book Day Resources:

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preparing them for school and setting
them on a
positive path in life