Read With Me

Sharing a book creates a partnership between a young child and their carer that will promote their attention, social awareness and a habit of reading for pleasure. Anne O’Connor shows why…

Orson is sitting on his mother’s knee and together they are looking at a book. Mum points to the pictures and talks about them. Orson points too, and follows mum’s finger as she names things.

When she asks him to find the teddy, he points and then looks at mum to check with her. She praises him with a ‘well done’. Her reaction pleases him and he looks now to dad and grins at him.

Mum draws his attention to the picture of a baby going to bed and talks about how the baby gets a kiss goodnight. Orson gets a kiss too and mum says ‘night night’ to the baby.

Bedtime is a familiar routine to Orson and he is able now to connect with his own past experiences and transfer his knowledge to this new situation. He babbles ‘bye bye’ and he and mum wave goodnight to the baby in the book.


1 Around the age of eight to 12 months, babies develop the fabulous and important skill of pointing, and use it at every opportunity.

Babies now realise they can draw the attention of others to something and use their finger to point in one of two ways:

  • imperative pointing means ‘I want it’
  • declarative pointing means they want you to share their interest in it.

Looking at books together is a great opportunity for practising this latter skill and reinforces for the child the concept of  ‘shared perception’ – that both of you can be looking at the same thing with mutual attention.

This is probably a result of the natural turn-taking that has gone on between the child and carer during their affectionate ‘conversations’ in earlier months. The difference now is that the baby is aware of this joint focus…

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Article written by Anne O’Connor and published in Nursery World ©

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