Meet the UK's youngest readers
These families show us it's never too early to start reading with children.
First book: Babies very first Black and White books: Faces
Favourite books: Barry the Fish with Fingers (Sue Hendra), Peppa Pig books, Usborne’s Touchy Feely books, Harris finds his feet (Catherine Rayner)
Has been a member of the library: Since he was a month old.
Likes to share books with: Mummy & Daddy
We asked mum Bella about her experience of sharing books with Jay, who is 6 months old.
How do you think reading to Jay from such a young age has benefitted him?
I think it has really helped with Jay’s hand and eye co-ordination. He likes reaching out to hold the book and touch the pages. I catch him sometimes smiling at the pages also!
What would you say has been the best part of reading with Jay?
I love having Jay sit with me and enjoy the closeness we share while I read to him. I hope this will help him develop an interest in reading as he grows older.
Received first book: Aged 3 weeks although did not start successfully reading to her until she was 8 weeks!
Favourite books: Black & White and Animals
Likes to share books with: Mummy (Mel) & Daddy (Craig)
We asked mum Mel about her experience of sharing books with Lowenna, who is now 5 months old.
How do you think reading to Lowenna from such a young age has benefitted her?
Identifying colours, contrast, animals and their noises. Also feeling the pages and learning to turn them on her own.
As a parent, what would you say has been the best part of reading with Lowenna?
It’s been lovely to see Lowenna’s eye sight develop and her attention span grow as she has got a bit older. She seems to love looking at the pictures and turning the pages by herself – which makes me think she really enjoys the books!
Received first book: whilst in mummy's tummy
Became a library card holder: 15 days (possibly the UK's youngest library card holder?)
Favourite books: Winnie the Pooh Treasury and NSPCC Art for Baby
Likes to share books with: Mummy, Daddy, Charlie (5) and Harry (3)
We asked mum Loll about her experience of sharing books with Ralphie, Charlie and Harry.
How do you think reading to Ralphie from such a young age has benefitted him?
"It’s easier to comment on this in relation to my older children, with whom we also read from the earliest possible point (i.e., before they were born). None of the boys have ever had a day when we haven’t read at least one book with them and mostly it’s many more than that! Both Charlie and Harry have amazing imaginations and are able to come up with interesting, funny (and coherent!) stories by themselves. The stories we’ve shared have also enabled them to deal with some of the challenges they’ve faced in life, for example, they both made links to ‘Owl Babies’ when they started pre-school and we used to recite the whole book as we walked into pre-school and then recount the ‘And she came!” bit when I picked them up.
Obviously, it’s wonderful that reading so much with the boys seems to have helped with their educational and emotional development, but the main thing for me is seeing how much they love books and reading. We’re obviously hoping that reading to Ralphie from a very young age will have some of these benefits as well. He certainly seems to enjoy a cuddle and a book already!"
As a parent, what would you say has been the best part of reading with Ralphie?
"Spending quality time with my children, without a doubt, doing something that we all really enjoy. I have always loved books and reading and am over the moon that I am able to share some of the happiest memories of my own childhood with my boys by reading books that I used to read. However, I am well aware that this readint time is about my children more than it is about me and I love finding books related to the things that interest them (I never read fire engine books as a child, nor many related to castles and sea creatures, but we have loads of books with stories based on those topics now!) and seeing how they introduce me to new ideas as well. Mainly, I just enjoy snuggling up with my children and sharing the magic of a great book!"
Arthur and Heidi
Current ages: Arthur is 4 and a half years old, Heidi is 2 and a half years old.
Received first books: before birth
Became library members: Around a couple of weeks old.
Favourite books: Arthur loves Panini Animal Sticker Album! and Heidi loves We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
Enjoy reading with: Mummy, Daddy and each other!
We spoke to mum Michelle about her experience of sharing books with Heidi and Arthur with dad Andy.
How do you think reading to Heidi and Arthur from such a young age has benefitted them?
"It’s helped their language develop - they’ve always tried copying the words we read aloud. It’s also helped them learn how to be still, listen and imagine."
What would you say has been the best part of reading with Heidi and Arthur?
"It’s given us loads of snuggly lap time, and we’ve enjoyed a wealth of stories, too."
Would you like to tell us about a baby or toddler who enjoys books? Share your experiences with us here.