Best books to read with babies

Best books to read with babies

What are the benefits of reading books with my baby?

Do you remember favourite books from your childhood? Research suggests that reading books with your baby can stimulate their senses, growing brain and holistic development. Books will support a child’s love for stories, rhyme, reading and writing. Starting from birth will encourage your baby to begin that journey.

''Reading to young children has long been recognized as an important precursor to language and literacy development'' Highberger and Brooks, 1973''

Do not worry if you cannot finish the book as your baby turns the page, takes the book or mouths it, they are still learning through the exploration - just read what you can and allow them to enjoy the experience. 

Books can encourage a baby’s

  • Vision
  • Hand eye coordination
  • Bond with others
  • Communication skills - hearing words, repeating them, hearing new sounds
  • Broaden vocabulary
  • Listening skills
  • Concentration skills 
  • To think about how things work, point to things and encourage them to ask questions
  • Emotions & how to express themselves
  • Memory building (sounds, words, illustrations & characters)
  • Understanding of the world around them 
  • Understanding of expression 
  • Inspire thinking 
  • Build on imagination & creativity
  • Learn about cultural differences
  • Fine and large motor skills - As they hold, turn pages, poke and feel

How can I support my baby’s development with books?


Together you can look at books with your baby developing a bond. When your baby is very young, choose a time when they are wide awake and alert. Put the book in their eye line so they can focus on the illustration/print. You will likely notice as your baby develops they will bring books to you. 


Your baby's physical development will be encouraged by sitting with your baby, tummy time, lying down on their back, putting the book in their eye line so they can focus, trace illustrations, show your baby the feely parts of the book by touching it and showing excitement. Encourage your baby to do the same. Lifting flaps, create anticipation by using an exciting voice and slowly lift the flap then tell your baby what it is hiding under the flaps. Eventually your baby will learn to lift the flaps themselves and find the feely parts in books without any direction.

Language and communication

Explore illustration. Talk about the pictures, words, sounds and rhyme. Use different tones and volumes when reading and use different voices for characters. Create the sounds of animals, vehicles etc. This will support your baby’s understanding of objects in the world. Repeat sounds and actions your baby makes and praise them. Ask your baby questions, point to illustrations you are talking about.

Sing songs 

Singing and music is a fantastic way to encourage language whilst your are looking through a book. Think about the story and characters for song ideas. We have a Music Theme Sensory Surprise Box available to purchase. See our blog-  The benefits of singing with babies for more information on singing with your baby.  

Family time

Create a reading area with your family; Include a low level reading shelf or book box for your baby and children to access. Use props, puppets and resources alongside the books with your baby. Our Theme Sensory Surprise Boxes contain a book and resources to explore. Using props is an exciting way to build on a child’s development. We also sell The Puppet Company My First Puppet individual hand puppets that are suitable from birth with supervision. You can purchase  Traditional Nursery Rhyme Puppet Sets and Traditional Story Sets that come with finger puppets for you and your baby to explore.


Read at bedtime with your baby. Include other children in the family and make it a special family occasion. Babies will learn from their siblings. Reading at bedtime can also calm children and get them relaxed and ready for their sleep experience. 

Trips out

Take books out with you to entertain your baby. You can read to them or allow your baby to explore the book themselves. We have a range of story books to buy in our wooden resources and Toy shop, some of these being finger puppet books, feel and touch books, and sliding, peek a boo books. We also have a range of wonderful exciting books to stimulate babies development in our My Sensory Journey Subscription boxes that are delivered to your door every three months for up to a year depending on when you sign up. The subscription boxes can also be bought individually.

Best books to read?

  • Black & white books for very young babies 
  • Hardback 
  • Cloth books
  • Textured books
  • Lift the flap books
  • Feely books 
  • Books with repetitive phrases 

Free books to read?

  • Visit the library 
  • Library story sessions
  • Read online stories

Tag us in some of your pictures or stories of your baby exploring books on our Facebook or Instagram page

Please be aware that all children are different. If you are ever concerned about your baby’s development, you should contact your doctor or health visitor.

Sources: Highberger R and Brooks H (1973) Vocabulary growth of Head Start children participating in a mothers’ reading program.