It is never too early to start sharing books with your baby. The routine of sharing books, stories, songs and rhymes helps your child to build skills that will help them later when learning to read. It also provides a special time and place for you to build a strong and loving relationship with your child.
Children enjoy a good read
Sharing a story and talking about it helps your child gain confidence in talking and discovering new words and meanings. Children who know that books give pleasure and who are familiar with the way stories work are already grounded in the basics of learning to read by themselves.
Babies can join the library at any age. We have plenty of books for you to enjoy together. Babies love bright colours and pictures of other babies and familiar objects. There are all kinds of books to choose from: board books – including touch and feel, books with flaps, picture books, counting, ABC and other young information books, traditional tales and rhymes and so on.
Don't worry if your baby chews a library book. Under eights don't pay charges for late, lost or damaged books.
Choosing library books
Children's fiction books in libraries have been organised in three levels – shown by traffic light coloured stickers – to help parents pick books for children just beginning to read.
- Ready (red car)
Bright simple story books to help children take the first steps into reading.
- Steady (amber car)
More words and lots of pictures to take children further with reading.
- Go (green car)
Longer stories for children to read independently.
Please note, we've started to change the labels on our story books for children:
- Yellow label with one black stripe
Books for beginner readers, these will gradually replace the Ready, Steady, Go labels over time.
- Yellow label with two black stripes
Short chapter books for children who can read on their own.
- Yellow label with three black stripes
Picture books for older readers, including Astrix and Tin Tin, as well as picture books with more complex stories and themes.
There are no charges for late returns or reservations for children under sixteen. Remember, you can renew your books online, by phone or in the library.
Get ideas for books:
Reading to your child
Get comfortable so you can both see the pages. They will soon find that sharing a book is a good excuse for a cuddle.
Try to find time when you are relaxed and your mind is not on other things. Turn off the TV or radio so your child can concentrate on your voice.
The more entertaining you can make it, the better. Use different voices for different characters, add sound effects, and sing songs and rhymes together. Your child will love it and the more you practice, the better you will get.
Ideas for keeping stories fun:
- put your child's name in a familiar story or make up a brand new one about their adventures,
- look at photo albums and tell stories about the pictures,
- treat books as toys – buy a bath book and keep board books in a toy box, and
- listen to stories together – you can borrow audiobooks on cassette and CD at your local library, or join one of our rhymetimes and storytimes.
- keep sharing books together. Even older children who can read on their own enjoy being read to as well.
How to help with reading
You can help your child learn to read by:
- asking questions about the story and pictures,
- following the words with your finger,
- letting your child pretend to read and tell the story themselves, and
- teaching them how to hold books and turn the pages gently.
Find out more
There are some really useful websites on developing your child's reading:
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