Home icon

Baby Meets Books

Note: The audio may not be clear in the first part of the clip. The transcript below clarifies what is being said.


Part 1

Jack crawls by his father toward something he sees on the floor.

Marty: You want to see the book also? You can see the book.

Jack reaches for the book.

Marty: It’s called “Wheels on the Go.”

Jack pulls the book closer. He focuses his attention on a bright red “wheel” cutout on the book and scratches it with his fingers. He stops and turns to look behind him for several seconds. Marty moves the book so it is between himself and Jack.

Jack (turning back to the book): Ahh. Ahh.

Marty holds the book open to the first page. Jack reaches for it. He gestures to the cutouts.

Marty: Big holes, yeah?

Jack presses one finger down on a red cutout.

Marty: I know. That’s a nice machine.

Jack opens and closes his left hand several times inside one of the cutouts.

Marty: It’s called a steamroller. (He reads aloud.) “With two heavy rollers I flatten every lump.”

Jack turns away.

Marty: “So when you go for a drive, you will not feel a bump. What am I? A steamroller.”

Jack turns back to the book and vocalizes. Marty turns the page and points to the next illustration.

Marty: Wooh, look at that!

Jack presses on the book with one foot, then points at the picture.

Marty: That’s a bicycle like your brother has. He has a bicycle.

Jack touches the wheel cutout with one finger.

Marty: Yeah, do you feel that?

Jack turns away again.

Part 2

Jack looks intently at the book on Will’s lap and reaches for it with one hand.

Marty: I know, Jacky. It says, “Mommy and Daddy love to play with me.”

Jack flicks the page nearest him with his fingers.

Marty: You want to see the next page, Jacky?

Will: That’s —.

Will turns the page.

Marty: This one says “While Daddy’s at work, Mommy and I play.”

Jack touches the page closest to him again.

Marty: It says, “Mommy loves to kiss me.” (He makes a “smooching” sound.) “Smooches!”

Jack and Marty make eye contact. Marty makes the smooching sound again and makes a funny face. Jack turns back to the book. Will points to another page.

Marty: It says, “Big smiles run in the family” (Will points to a picture) and “I am eating carrots.” (Will points to another picture) “Is something wrong with Daddy?”

Will laughs and points to another picture.

Marty: Says “Big Boy cup.”

Marty makes eye contact with Jack. Jack turns his head toward the book and begins pushing at Marty’s arm, trying to get under it.

Marty: That one says, “I cannot get enough of this hat. Choo choo!”

Jack pushes the book with his feet. Marty moves him.

Marty: Says “This is our old house.” Says “I do sleep, here and there.”

Will laughs. Jack continues to change position on Marty’s lap.

Marty: (to Jack) How’s that? It’s not as exciting as you thought it would be, is it, boojie?

Marty: (reads as Will points) “I can stand!” (He moves Jack to a standing position.) And that one says, “New digs!”

Will: I like that one.

Marty: Yeah.

Jack watches the book and continues to move toward it.

Marty: That one says “Being lazy and happy.”

Jack vocalizes quietly. Marty tries to reposition Jack, but he continues to turn toward the book. Marty makes an explosion sound and lifts Jack into the air.


This video shows 10-month-old Jack getting to know books in ways that are typical for children his age. First we see Jack and his father, Marty, on the floor at their home, interacting with a board book designed for babies and toddlers. Next we see Jack on his father’s lap while Marty reads aloud from another book to Jack’s preschool-age brother, Will. The video shows several ways that family members can encourage a baby’s interest in books.

  • Provide a variety of books.
    Although babies Jack’s age may pay attention to book illustrations or listen briefly when someone reads aloud, they are more likely to treat books as objects or toys. Jack’s parents have some sturdy board books for him, such as the one he looks at in the first clip, which has large cut-outs and bright colors on a white background designed to engage a baby’s interest. In the second clip, we see Marty allowing him to be part of a read-aloud using a more fragile book that features photographs of family members.
  • Notice when the baby shows interest in books.
    In the first part of the video, Marty acknowledges that Jack is looking toward a book on the floor. He says, “You want to see the book also? You can see the book.” In the second part, Marty comments on Jack’s effort to reach the book on Will’s lap. Moments later when Jack touches the edge of the book, Marty asks, “Do you want to see the next page, Jacky?”
  • Make it easy to interact with books.
    In the first clip, Marty moves the board book so both he and Jack can see it. He talks with Jack about the book and lets him explore the book with his fingers. This is typical of babies, who are often interested in the feel of books, especially those with “touch and feel” features. In the second clip, Marty holds Jack on his lap while reading aloud as Will points to text and pictures. Jack normally wouldn’t be allowed to handle this rather fragile book, but Marty keeps him from grabbing or tearing it so he can be part of this family read-aloud time.
  • Talk to the baby about books.
    During the first clip, Marty talks to Jack about the board book illustrations, especially the parts that Jack is touching (“Big holes, yeah?”). He also tries reading a short passage aloud when Jack is looking at the book. Jack’s attention abruptly shifts away but then returns to the book. Jack seems to turn back to the book at one point when Marty reads with extra emphasis: “What am I? A steamroller.” Marty does not try to read more than a few words at a time to Jack.
  • Expect the baby’s attention to shift.
    Like most babies, Jack rapidly shifts his attention from one thing to another. In the first clip, he looks at the book, then away, then back to the book, then away again. He sometimes seems to be listening as his father reads aloud, but the words do not hold his interest as much as the pictures and other appealing features of the book. When Marty holds Jack on his lap in the second clip, he plays with him in addition to reading aloud. By making eye contact with Jack, lifting him up, and talking to him, Marty allows Jack to remain part of the read-aloud session while keeping him from handling the book. The book Will and Marty picked is well-suited to this situation. It features a series of picture captions, so when Marty has to stop reading to attend to Jack, he does not interrupt the flow of a story.
  • Model how to handle books.
    During the read-aloud session in the second clip, Marty sees that Jack would like to handle the book, but he knows that would interrupt the reading. He keeps Jack from taking the book or sliding down to sit on it. With Jack secure in his dad’s lap, he can watch what his dad and brother do with books. Jack is generally very interested in what Will does, so he may learn quickly from seeing Will hold the book open, turn the pages, and talk and laugh with Marty about some of the illustrations.

Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age Three & How They Were Met

This list shows how Jack’s actions in the video relate to some standards in the birth-to-three guidelines.

Self-Regulation: Foundation of Development
Attention Regulation
Children demonstrate the emerging ability to process stimuli, focus and sustain attention, and maintain engagement in accordance with social and cultural contexts.

  • Indicators for children (7–18 months):
    • Engages in joint attention with a caregiver, e.g. joins in looking at the same object or shifts gaze to where someone is pointing
    • Focuses on one object or activity for a brief period of time, even with other objects close in proximity; still easily distracted
  • Action: On the floor, Jack reached for the book his dad held and touched it. Several times, he turned away to watch people talking in the next room, then turned back to the book. While on the couch, Jack tried multiple times to touch the book even though his father maneuvered him so that he could not grab the pages.

Developmental Domain 1: Social & Emotional Development
Relationship with Adults
Children demonstrate the desire and develop the ability to engage, interact, and build relationships with familiar adults.

  • Indicators for children (7–18 months):
    • Engages with adults during play, e.g., bangs on a toy drum and repeats action after an adult completes the same action
    • Draws a familiar adult into an interaction, e.g., hands a book or toy to engage in together
  • Action
    • Jack sat by the book on the floor, facing his dad, pointing and touching the illustrations as his father turned the pages and spoke. When his dad read the question “What am I?”, Jack turned around to look at the book again.
    • While being held on his father’s lap, Jack looked at his father’s face and made brief eye contact with him several times.

Developmental Domain 2: Physical Development & Health
Gross Motor
Children demonstrate strength, coordination, and controlled use of large muscles.

  • Indicators for children (7–18 months):
    • Moves from hands and knees to a sitting position
    • Crawls from one point to another
  • Action: Jack crawled toward the book and moved easily from crawling to sitting position. When he turned to look at activity in the next room, he put himself into position to begin crawling but easily returned to sitting each time. Jack tried multiple strategic movements to reach the book while on his father’s lap.

Developmental Domain 2: Physical Development & Health
Fine Motor
Children demonstrate the ability to coordinate their small muscles in order to move and control objects.

  • Indicators for children (7–18 months):
    • Uses pincer grasp, e.g., picks up a Cheerio with thumb and forefinger
    • Uses hands in a purposeful manner, e.g., turns the pages of a board book, drops objects into a bucket
  • Action: While sitting on the floor, Jack pointed at the book in front of him with one finger. He opened and closed his hand (variation of the pincer grasp) while touching the textured “hole” in the book. Jack reached purposefully toward the book his brother was reading while moving his fingers—possibly trying to turn the page.

Developmental Domain 3: Language Development, Communication, & Literacy
Social Communication
Children demonstrate the ability to engage with and maintain communication with others.

  • Indicators for children (7–18 months):
    • Communicates and responds by grunting, nodding, and pointing
    • Participates in simple back-and-forth communication, using words and/or gestures
  • Action: Jack pointed at illustrations in the book, Wheels on the Go. He vocalized (“Uh!”) two different times as he looked back at the book and his father after turning away. On the sofa, he looked at his father’s face multiple times while his father read aloud and made noises and faces.

Developmental Domain 3: Language Development, Communication, & Literacy
Receptive Communication
Children demonstrate the ability to comprehend both verbal and nonverbal communication.

  • Indicators for children (7–18 months): Engages in joint attention with a caregiver, e.g., joins in looking at the same object or shifts gaze to where someone is pointing
  • Action: Jack responded to his father’s invitation to explore Wheels on the Go by touching the holes on the pages. When his father read “What am I?” in an expressive voice, Jack turned back to the book after peering into the other room. While sitting on the sofa, Jack joined his father and brother in looking at the book his brother was holding.

Developmental Domain 3: Language Development, Communication, & Literacy
Early Literacy
Children demonstrate interest in and comprehension of printed materials.

  • Indicators for children (7–18 months):
    • Points to pictures in a book and reacts, e.g., smiles when sees a picture of a dog
    • Initiates literacy activities, e.g., gestures toward a book or attempts to turn pages of a paper book or magazine
  • Action: Jack initiated a literacy interaction by crawling toward the book on the floor and sitting up in front of it. He pointed to pages and showed some interest when his father read aloud and talked about the pictures. He reached toward the pages of the book his brother was holding while their father read aloud.
Reviewed: 2017