Promoting Early Literacy: Tips for Parents

What kids like in books

Infants 0-6 months

  • Books with simple, large pictures or designs with bright colors.
  • Stiff cardboard, "chunky" books, or fold out books that can be propped up in the crib.
  • Cloth and soft vinyl books with simple pictures of people or familiar objects that can go in the bath or get washed.

Infants 6-12 months

  • Board books with photos of other babies.
  • Brightly colored "chunky" board books to touch and taste!
  • Books with photos of familiar objects like balls and bottles.
  • Books with sturdy pages that can be propped up or spread out in the crib or on a blanket.
  • Plastic/vinyl books for bath time.
  • Washable cloth books to cuddle and mouth.
  • Small plastic photo albums of family and friends.

Young Toddlers 12-24 months

  • Sturdy board books that they can carry.
  • Books with photos of children doing familiar things like sleeping or playing.
  • Goodnight books for bed time.
  • Books about saying hello and good-bye.
  • Books with only a few words on each page.
  • Books with simple rhymes or predictable text.
  • Animal books of all sizes and shapes.

Toddlers 2-3 years

  • Books that tell simple stories.
  • Simple rhyming books that they can memorize.
  • Bed time books.
  • Books about counting, the alphabet, shapes, or sizes.
  • Animal books, vehicle books, books about playtime.
  • Books with their favorite TV characters inside.
  • Books about saying hello and good-bye.


Can't wait for a read-aloud story? Storyline Online has free stories read aloud by screen actor guild members and activities based on the books.


The City of Springfield, MA has great resources for early literacy. Check out their Reading Success by 4th Grade site.