With the vast number of books on offer, choosing the best books for babies and toddlers can seem daunting.
You may be wondering if there is any benefit to reading to a baby of a few weeks old.
To make your life a little bit simpler we have put together a list of the best books for babies and toddlers including preschoolers.
Reading with Babies (0-12 months old)
Indeed, your baby will not understand everything you are saying but reading with your baby is a great way to bond with your baby and create a special time that you will cherish for years to come.
Reading with your baby also develops fine motor skills as they start to point, touch and interact with the book – cloth books are great for this. As you read, you use expression and emotion, and this supports your baby’s social and emotional development. The more you read aloud with them, the more words they will hear and the better they will talk.
Reading with your baby can also form part of your bedtime routine.
What to Read with your Baby?
The best books for babies should have clear pictures and be simple and repetitive. During the 1st few months, you can read anything to your baby as they love hearing your voice. As your baby becomes more interested in looking at objects and pictures choose books with solid backgrounds and simple illustrations.
As your baby starts to interact more books with mirrors and textures are ideal. Try books with different textures that are crinkly, soft, shiny or scratchy. Board books with flaps are also a good choice and help develop your little one’s fine motor skills.
At this age, choose boar books or books made from vinyl or cloth. These are easy for babies to start learning to turn the pages, are durable and can be taken anywhere.
10 Best Books for Babies (0-12 months old)
About the Book: With textured animal tails, crinkle features, squeakers this book is perfect for developing your baby's motor skills and audio recognition. They are handmade, non-toxic and washable, making them ideal for babies. The velcro straps are perfect for strapping the book onto strollers and baby chairs.
Reading with Toddlers (12 – 36 months old)
Reading at this age is all about having fun with books. The time spent reading together can create special parent one on one time, and it allows you to model a love of books for your child.
You can start to get your little one involved – let them choose the book they would like to read and get them to hold the book and turn the pages. Ask your toddler to name the things they see in the book – shapes, animals etc.
Mix things up to keep your little one engaged – you do not always have to read a book. Singing nursery rhymes and songs together are a great way to improve vocabulary, teach concepts and generally have some fun together.
What to Read with your Toddler?
You will find that your child still loves interactive books at this age; however, as they get older and transition from board books, adding books that rhyme, are repetitive and a little bit silly will be definite winners.
Toddlers are curious and are very engaged in learning more about the world around them. Reading helps them make sense of what they are hearing, thinking, and seeing. Toddlers will generally enjoy books that feature animals, experiences they can relate to and any books about their favourite topic like princesses or trains.
Pop-up books and lift the flap books will be popular with younger toddlers whilst older toddlers will enjoy books with moveable pieces. There is a big difference between 12 and 36-month-olds, so it is essential to choose age-appropriate books.
10 Best Books for Toddlers (12 - 36 months old)
Some of the books recommended are the board book version suitable for the younger toddler. However many of these books are also available in hardcover and paperback versions which would be ideal for the 2+ year-olds.
Reading with Preschoolers (3 – 5 years old)
When reading with a preschooler, start to ask questions before, during and after reading. Asking questions will begin to develop your child's comprehension skills. You can also ask questions about the different letters and the sounds they make.
While you are reading point out:
Punctuation marks including question marks, exclamation marks, full stops and commas and explain what they are.
Capital and lower-case letters. For example, “There is a capital S. Can you see how it is bigger than this lower-case s?”
Words printed in large or bold font and explain why there are these changes. For example, "Look at how big the word BOO is. The Mummy must be saying BOO very loudly to frighten the little girl."
You may also be thinking about teaching your child to read. Children Learning Reading has a great program that teaches children as young as 2.5 years old to read. You can read our review of the Children Learning Reading Program here.
What to Read with your Preschooler?
At this age, books with repetition and rhyme will still be popular with your child. Your child will also want to pick books that interest them. As they get closer to school-aged, they may even start to show an interest in non-fictional books such as books on animals, transport, the ocean, space etc. This age is also the right time to read books that deal with emotions and relationships.
You may find that your child enjoys books about life events like going to school, making friends and family. Books that have children about the same age as your child will also be a hit.
10 Best Books for Preschoolers (3 – 5 years old)
About the Book: As the book says, "You may think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious." But this book is so funny your little one will love it. With crazy-sounding words like BLORK or BLURFF, your child will want to read this book over and over. I lost count of how many times we read this book.
Have fun reading with your little one.
Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.
– George Bernard Shaw