13 ways to tell if it's the right book for your baby

by Babs Hadjusiewicz April 24, 2014


You know it's important to read aloud to your child every day. And you know the importance of beginning those read-alouds just as early as possible. But which book to read aloud? Here are some kid book behaviors that say, “I like it!” Any one of these behaviors generally says the book’s a good fit, though I often notice many behaviors around one book. When that happens, I know the book’s found a home.

Look for these signs:

  1. Pays attention as you read aloud. While an infant might show interest by slapping or grabbing at a book, the page-turning action appeals to infants and toddlers. Others squeal, grunt, poke at, or even lay on a book to give it their nod of approval. And still other kids vote with some other form of “Do it again!” The key is to be alert for behaviors during your back-to-back first and second readings.

  2. Stays tuned beyond the first few pages. Let’s face it, your reading voice and drama can make or break a book. So read a book you can get into, and your infant or toddler will be right there with you.

  3. Tries to turn the page or pages. This can mean many things, including the following: turning pages is fun; reading means getting to turn pages from front to back; a story starts and ends; she’s in charge and likes your confirming the fact; she wants to see and hear what happens next; turning back to a previous page can mean she wants to know if the pictures are still there and if you say the same words you’d said before.

  4. Points with interest or asks about the book's pictures. He wants to hear you talk more about the pictures. A picture does, sometimes, speak louder than words, especially to infants and toddlers. Pointing to a picture can be his way of telling you he’s had a related experience—or wants to!

  5. Wanders off but seems to stay tuned as you go on reading. Some kids will sit still to listen as long as you’re willing to read. Others need to be active as they listen. If you’d like your child to stay close by, try adding more drama with your voice and body. Or revisit the book when he’s rested or has just had a snack.

  6. Responds with interest when you toss her name into the story. This is a great way to grab, regain, or take stock of interest. Hearing you say words that name herself or her favorite people, places, and things can help her identify with the story.

  7. Repeats words or phrases from the book. He likes the sound or meaning and wants practice saying those words. He may have heard the word(s) and is intrigued to hear it again in a book. Repeating words can be a way of asking you to repeat a page or to stop and talk about a picture’s details.

  8. Giggles about the book's words or pictures. Here’s proof of interest which usually accompanies repeated requests to “Do it again!” This particular behavior generally earns a book high marks as a favorite that’s stroking his budding sense of humor.

  9. Points to or talks about an experience the story or pictures calls to mind. She’s finding the book speaks to her at this particular time with her own life experiences. In this case, she has thoughts to share, so let her be your conversational guide.

  10. Finds one page extra special and wants to stay on the page. Your child is focused––always a positive behavior when it’s around book language and knowledge. There is no rule anywhere that says you must read the whole book. Let your child’s interest be your guide. Talk about the book’s language and knowledge your child finds so interesting. Yes, stop to smell the roses!

  11. Chooses the book at read-aloud time. He’s being decisive. He’s expressing comfort in sharing his preference. The two of you can go right on to the fun part––bonding around a good book.

  12. Focuses Talk™ around the book, i.e., you notice he’s talking about that book’s language or its concepts during daily living. Your child’s telling you the book holds meaning for him long after he’s put it down. Ah! He’s discovered reason to read for enjoyment!

  13. You like the book because you are the one who will be reading it again and again. Yes, this is your opportunity to be the sales person. Use your voice and dramatic self to sell that book to your child.


Focusing Talk is a trademark of Babs Bell Hajdusiewicz.

Babs Hadjusiewicz
Babs Hadjusiewicz


Hey, thanks for stopping by. Check out our digital downloads right here in my store at www.babsyb.com. You'll also find many of my publications in my Bee with Babsy B store on Teachers Pay Teachers' site. Come back often!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in The Babsy B Blog

Q&A: Do I really Need to be there for my kid's school event today?

by Alec Degnats February 08, 2018

Continue Reading →

Babsy B Tip: Conversation Starters

by Babs Bell Hadjusiewicz July 13, 2016

Continue Reading →

This Week's WOW! Word: TOLERATE

by Babs Bell Hadjusiewicz July 12, 2016

Continue Reading →