Raising a Bookworm

6-12 Months

Babies start focusing on the pages in front of them. Choose simple, straightforward books that have only one picture (say, of everyday objects like an apple or a truck) and a few words per page.

You'll also notice that at this age, children are more concerned with the physical qualities of the book as opposed to the actual story. Pick books that engage all his senses. Touch-and-feel books and activity books like Pat the Bunny -- ones with lift-up flaps, musical buttons, or pop-ups -- are perfect for babies' tiny fingers to explore. Encourage activities like turning pages that will help develop fine motor skills and make the child an active participant in the story. In general, it's best to choose sturdy board books that can stand up to a baby's gumming, tugging, and throwing. The way your baby handles a book may not be pretty, but keep in mind that chewing and mouthing books are the way babies learn about objects.

Dr. Klass encourages parents to try making storytime more interactive, too. Start linking words to objects and gestures. Point to the book and say, "There's the baby's nose. Where's your nose? There it is!" Babies are delighted when they see connections between their life and the books they enjoy.

The good thing is it's almost impossible not to relate to your child when you're reading aloud to her, says Mem Fox, the author of children's books including Time for Bed. "Sing, clap hands, and play games. Take advantage of the opportunity for cuddling, murmuring in your baby's ear, or kissing the back of his perfect little neck."

What to Read: 6 to 12 Months

  • Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells
  • JamBerry by Bruce Degen
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Who Said Moo? by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback

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