Birth – 1 Year

Birth – 1 Year

Sing, talk, and read from the very beginning

Select the right age range for your family
Expecting A Baby | Birth – 1 Year | 1 – 3 Years | 3 – 5 Years | 5 – 8 Years


From the very beginning, singing, talking and reading are important ways to help set your baby on the road to success in school and life. As a busy parent, the first step is to get a library card. Use it to access your local library.

Explore other ways to help your baby grow in the first year.

Your newborn baby hears sounds more than words.

Sing to your baby. Choose songs with simple rhythms or melodies. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is a good choice. Sing along with the radio or just make up a song. Sing while fixing dinner or folding clothes, giving them a bath or combing their hair. Sing to your baby every chance you get.

The sound of your voice is more important than the words on a page.

Talk and read to your baby. Share your thoughts with your baby. Read aloud anything that interests you – a magazine article, novel or even make up a story. Talk about what you see.

In the first few months, your baby sees mostly in black and white.

Your baby recognizes black and white images and those with high contrast like bright red on white background. Read and show your baby books with black and white images; bold, bright colors and lots of white space; and books with faces of other babies.

Book Ideas

White on black / Tana Hoban Little black book / Renée Khatami Global babies / Global Fund for Children
White on Black
By Tana Hoban
Little black book
By Renée Khatami
Global Babies
By Global Fund for Children

Your baby needs to explore and feel different things.

Read books with different textures for your baby to touch and feel. As they start to reach for objects and put things in their mouth, select board books that have sturdy pages. Don’t be surprised if your baby puts a book in their mouth. Remove the book and give them a rattle while you read aloud.

Be sure to place your baby on their tummy to help build neck and back muscles. Stay close by. This is a perfect time to sing and talk to your baby. You can prop a sturdy book with bright color pictures for them to see. Talk about what’s on the pages.

Book Ideas

Farm Baby's very first touchy-feely book / Stella Baggott
By DK Publishing
Baby's very first touchy-feely book
By Stella Baggott

Encourage your baby as she begins to make her first sounds.

Your baby’s first sounds are likely burps that grow into “ooh” and “aah” noises and then babbling. Read books that feature sounds like animal and vehicle noises. Check out Sandra's Boynton's Moo, Baa, La La La! Say “moo” to your baby when you read about cows and “meow” for the cats in the book. When you talk to your baby, imitate the sounds they make.

Later in his first year, your baby learns the names of things.

As your baby grows, they begin to learn the names of things and love to find objects on the pages of books. Pick books that allow you to point and say the names of objects.

Book Ideas

At home / Jo Litchfield Of colors and things / Tana Hoban
At home
By Jo Litchfield
Of colors and things
By Tana Hoban

The number of different words your baby hears is important.

As your baby gets older and their listening skills grow, help build the number of words they hear by reading books that describe actions such as “you can”, “we are”, “she is”. Try You Can Do It, Too! by Karen Baiker and Ken Wilson-Max.

Your baby has a short attention span.

All babies have short attention spans. It is less likely your baby will sit quietly for reading, particularly when they start to crawl. This is a good time to sing, talk and play. Books with catchy songs, poems and nursery rhymes like Mary Had A Little Lamb are good choices. You may like My Very First Mother Goose. Limit your book-sharing time to just a few minutes. If your baby becomes fussy, stop and read again later.

Bond with your baby through reading.

Cuddle up with your baby and a book. Create a book-sharing routine by reading to your baby at bedtime or just before or after a nap.

Book Ideas

Clare Beaton's bedtime rhymes / Clare Beaton Ten little fingers and ten little toes / Mem Fox
Clare Beaton's bedtime rhymes
By Clare Beaton
Ten little fingers and ten little toes
By Mem Fox