Toddler selecting books for readingOne of the tips I share with parents is to have books available to babies and toddlers. Have a basket or bag of books in whatever rooms you spend time. Usually the kitchen is a good spot so your child can explore the books while you get dinner ready. Get down on the floor and see the playroom or kitchen from your child’s perspective. Are her favorite books on a shelf that is just a little too high or can she help herself easily?

As she begins to move around 8 months, she can get to what SHE likes and make choices, taking a book out to explore. At first that might be just mouthing the book so make sure you have plenty of board books and not the special anthology of poems she got for Christmas from Grandma. Later she will turn a few pages, enjoying the pictures and learning that each page has something new and different on it.

Always read with lots of expression, sing-songing through the rhythmic lines that repeat through out the book. Add gestures to your reading that correspond to the story, pointing out eyes and ears, tickling toes and fingers, clapping or bouncing along to the story. 

Recent research connects the amount of gesturing a 14 month-old-child is doing with the size of her vocabulary at the age of 4. Children who use more gestures at a young age have a greater vocabulary a few years later which coincides with language development.