Book sharing helps babies to respond to them more as they grow. Encourage whānau to share different types of books by choosing, making or borrowing them.

When parents share books with their baby from birth, they learn to enjoy this time together. By the child’s second year, they’ll likely be at the ‘attentive’ stage.

During this stage they might:

  • bring a book to one parent or the other to read
  • be happy to start at the beginning of the book
  • immediately want the book read over again
  • focus their attention on the pictures better
  • have favourite books, pages or pictures they want to see first
  • point to pictures and name some of the familiar ones
  • understand that a book has a ‘right way up’
  • be less likely to mouth books or tear pages
  • make links to real life – for example, they might:
    • get their teddy when they see a picture of one
    • pretend to eat when they see a picture of food they recognise.

Relating to books

Ask whānau:

  • What have you noticed about the way your child relates to books?
  • Do they have any favourites?
  • What are they?
  • Why do you think they like them?
  • Do you have any favourite books you like sharing with them?
  • What do you enjoy about those books?

Encourage book sharing as a time to enjoy being close and comfortable, and not always a question and answer session.

Getting access to books

If there aren’t many books in the whānau home, talk with them about increasing opportunities for their child to enjoy books.

  • How could your child have more access to books?

Share some of the following ideas if they haven’t come up in the conversation.

  • Photo albums are a great ‘reading’ resource for parents to share with their child – they’ll be more interested in photos of familiar people.
    Discussing a photo with the child can be extended in many directions:
    • Use descriptive words.
    • Recall past experiences the child had with the person or place.
    • Make up new stories, prompted by the photos.
  • Join the local library:
    • Where is the closest one?
    • Do whānau have a library card?
    • At the next visit, bring an enrolment form for the child.
    • Offer to go with whānau to meet the librarians and find out what the library offers.
  • Make books:
    • What would the whānau need to make some books at home?
    • Are there things in the recycling they could use?
    • What could you bring along to help create an interactive or texture book?
  • Second-hand books:
    • Where’s the nearest second-hand shop, book exchange or market day?

Best books for toddlers

Suitable books for this stage have:

  • pictures that are simple, bright, colourful and realistic-looking
  • rhyming words, repeating phrases or ‘action’ words that the child can copy
  • stories about places and things that children this age relate to – for example, pets, car seats and food
  • limited words — in fact, wordless books encourage creating or personalising a story, and more input from whānau.

How does this relate to Tākai resources?

Baby wall frieze – Pānuitia taku tino kōrero anō anō – read my favourite story again and again

Six things children need – Te kōrero me te whakarongo – talking and listening 

Helpful resources for whānau