Crack Open a Book Say the Authors of ‘Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos’

Love reading? (You must if you’re checking out my blog!) Love your baby? Combine these two joys quickly and easily tonight. In today’s Part One of two stories, I asked the authors of Reading with Babies, Toddlers and Twos three questions about how to get started with your little one.

KK: At what age is it important to start reading?
It’s never too soon to start and never too late to begin. You can show a tiny baby illustrations and contrasting images and read a cheerful rhyme, or prop books by the changing table, or tie them to the stroller. Share a book every chance you get.

KK: By they time they’re toddlers, how many minutes should we be reading to them?
Don’t stress about “how many minutes” you’re reading daily. If the books are around, and you’re seizing opportunities, you’re sharing good book time. There’s no magic number. What’s important is making reading something you both enjoy.

KK: How does starting a healthy reading habit when they’re young help them as they hit elementary and middle schools?
A child who starts reading early is a child who has never known life without books. This child develops a trust in the stories and information and adventures within a book. Expecting pleasure from reading makes so much of school easier. A fluent vocabulary—the kind that comes from sharing a wide variety of books—comes naturally to a reader. Continue reading with your child once she can read to herself. Bring out chapter books and old favorites and keep going as long as she’s listening. You’ll both be glad you did.

About the authors:

KJ Dell’Antonia is the lead writer and editor of the New York Times Motherlode parenting blog. Also as a children’s book reviewer and a mother of four children, she knows which books work best and why. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two young children.

Susan Straub founded the READ TO ME program more than 20 years ago, a national workshop encouraging young families to read to their babies that is still thriving. Ms. Straub’s work with READ TO ME has been celebrated on NY1 television and in Oprah’s O magazine. She lives in New York City.

Rachel Payne is the coordinator of early childhood services at the Brooklyn Public Library. She knows why some books are carried around, colored on, taken to meals, and slept with, while others are pushed away after a single

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