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Baby reading a picture book on a bed


Find out more about the importance of reading and storytelling throughout learning and development in babies and children

Baby reading a picture book on a bed


0-6 months

In the first 3 months, your baby might enjoy sitting on your lap and gazing at the pictures while you slowly read aloud. Your baby might pay attention to the book for only a few minutes. By 6 months, your baby will start to take a more active role in story time, and will respond with smiles, gurgles and babbles to voices, faces and interactions. Mirrors can be an endless source of entertainment and some baby books include these. Your baby will reach out to touch the pictures. Lots of books have textured pictures to add to the sensory experience.


6-12 months

At this stage your baby will listen carefully, make noises and point and recognise familiar words such as bye-bye, mummy, dog. Reading to your baby at this stage will be more interactive as your baby looks at the pictures and at you. Your baby will almost certainly put grab the book and pages and try to eat them so cardboard books are good at this stage. When reading with your baby at this stage you can point to and name the pictures.



12-18 months

Reading and storytelling helps toddlers learn about speech sounds, words, language, pictures and books. Toddlers like to join in with reading. They might point to pictures, name objects and make noises


18-24 months

By now your baby will not only have turned into a toddler but also able to turn their own board-book pages. Paper pages may still take a while to fully master. Ask "What's that?" and your toddler is sure to respond by naming familiar pictures.



2-3 years old

More info to follow.

3-5 years old

Some pre-schoolers may regognise familiar characters and letters; they may be able to name some letters that begin certain words, make up rhymes or silly phrases.


Some pre-schoolers might even predict what might happen next in a story, read and write their names and some familiar words, retell stories that they know.

Explore more in the Chat, Play, Read Sections below:

Mother and Child


Find out more about learning to talk from birth to 5 years

Happy Girl with Dad


Discover the Family Hub App for tips and activities to do at home

Mother and Baby on Floor


Explore the importance of play in learning and development in the Early Years

You might also find the following pages useful:

Young people family hubs northumberland.png


Explore the services available for young people locally



Find out more about how we are supporting our local communities



What we do to support families across Northumberland

Child Reading in the Grass


Access the Families Information Service (FIS) in Northumberland 

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