A Mighty Voice

Finding confidence in the ways that you tell stories will make them even more special to the children you share them with.

In their earliest years, infants and toddlers can begin to grow in their connection to caregivers with stories read together. Shared reading is an activity where the caregiver and child actively engage with a book. This can be a joyful experience that enhances their comprehension, vocabulary, and listening skills. Consider these strategies to have fun with your child while reading stories, especially those with rhymes and songs to support word recognition. 

Reading Milestones:  

Birth to 6 months: During this period, infants may grab the book to open and close it, turn the pages randomly, and even taste the book, showing their curiosity (a tell-tale sign that they want to explore more)! Point to the picture your child is looking at and say, “Look at the bird. Can you find the bird?”  

6–9 months: Read and revel in your baby’s excited coos, intense gaze, and adorable kicks while bonding through reading song-based picture books. This can be an opportunity to engage in learning melodies, which can lead to recalling text. Use song-based picture books to introduce melodies that can aid in text recall. Include musical instruments, such as jingle bells, or mini maracas, for a fun, interactive experience.   

9–18 months: Exploring the different parts of a story can keep shared reading fun and engaging. Pointing out and talking about the different objects in illustrations can help babies begin to connect pictures to the stories they are about.   

18–24 months: As children grow in familiarity with a text, they may enjoy reading it repeatedly. Acting out a story with hand or sock puppets can bring the pages of a text to life. Make learning live with actions that keep children active—and attentive!   

Shared reading is a magic key to the wonderful world of imagination and epic adventures in the land of literacy. Become a tour guide as you explore stories with your little one while fostering comprehension, vocabulary, and listening skills with every page turned. Enjoy the journey and have fun! 

Kellian L. Collins, EdD