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Storytelling to Babies and Toddlers

Storytelling is fantastic for children’s development in many different ways. By reading a story to and with them, you are making a child aware of words, language, print and pictures.

By fostering a positive relationship with reading whilst they are babies, you are instilling a love of reading in them and an ability and enthusiasm to read independently as they grow older.

When to read to babies:

It’s great to read to your baby from the very start, you don’t have to wait until a certain time. Even though they won’t always understand what you are saying, it is still beneficial for them to hear and cuddle up with you and a book.

By 3-12 months, they may be becoming more aware of images, sounds and textures. Books with large, interesting images and soft touches would be best for them at this stage.

From 1-2 years, they will be more engaged and can help to choose the book. They may be able to identify images in the story so be sure to stop and ask them what’s what throughout the book.

2-3 year olds will be more familiar with what’s going on in the book, try to relate what they hear and see in the book to real life e.g. that bus looks just like the one you travel on to school. They will be able to handle the book and will also be able to choose their favourite book.

From the age of 3, children will have a good grasp on the story and will be able to answer questions on it and relate the story to real life.

General Tips to help you make the most of reading with babies and toddlers:

  • Make a reading routine and try to stick to it, e.g. before bed
  • Have a special, comfortable reading place e.g. on a bean bag or chair
  • Ensure it is a quiet space with no distractions such as a TV or radio
  • Help your child choose the book, even if that means the same book every time!
  • Involve them by allowing them to hold the book or turn the pages
  • If they can, encourage them to read some words or sentences
  • Choose a book that is a good length for your child’s age to keep them engaged. Usually 4-5 minutes for toddlers
  • Books with rhymes, songs and good repetition are best for keeping them entertained and engaged

What to read to babies and toddlers:


Babies are only focused on the images, textures, sounds and colours within a book. With this in mind, here are our recommendations:

Bright Baby: Baby Animals Touch and Feel Book
Introduce babies to animals with this lovely picture book from bestselling author and educator Roger Priddy. The colourful images and rhyming text make this the perfect starter book to have on all nursery shelves.

Disney Frozen 2: Touch and Feel Forest
Disney’s Frozen has been a massive hit with kids since it first came to our screens in 2013. The announcement of a second movie brought with it a wave of excitement. Along with the movie came this lovely book, a perfect way for small children to explore the magical world of Frozen. This soft touch and feel book became an instant hit and we can see why.

Baby Touch: Night-Night
This adorable baby book will have a little one winding down and sleepy in no time. The touch-and-feel patches, star-shaped peep holes and gentle, relaxing text, makes this book perfect to soothe young children from birth upwards.


Guess How Much I Love You
This adorable book is a classic for a reason. The story of Little and Big Nutbrown Hares’ efforts to express their love for each other makes this the loveliest tale, ensuring it will be a requested read time and time again. Suitable for all ages, this is certainly a must have.

The Gruffalo
Another brilliant classic; kids will love the rhyming story of a quick-witted mouse as he comes across a fox, an owl, a snake and a very hungry Gruffalo. Perfect for young children, this along with any of Julia Donaldson’s other hit stories, are sure to go down a treat!

Ten Little Night Stars
Perfect for toddlers before bedtime, kids will love counting the stars and reading along with the interactive and engaging rhymes.


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