Reading picture books with infants and toddlers facilitates their early language development, with far-reaching benefits for their later reading abilities and academic achievement.

While the importance of reading books with children aged from 3 to 5 years is widely recognised, the benefits of reading with much younger children from 0 to 3 years, who are still engaged in learning their first language, are less well understood. This book will explore the seemingly simple practice of reading picture books with infants and toddlers aged 0–3 years, from a range of perspectives. Not only do book-focused adult–child interactions support language and early literacy development in multiple ways, such interactions can also, at the same time, foster intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual growth. By weaving together in an accessible manner the insights from several different discipline areas, this book will explain how and why reading with infants and toddlers has such power to enrich their lives.

Providing an evidence-based, theoretically informed account, Reading Picture Books with Infants and Toddlers supports educators, parents, and caregivers with the knowledge, skills, and motivation to provide frequent, enjoyable, and language-rich reading experiences with infants and toddlers.

1. The Benefits of Reading with Infants and Toddlers 2. How Context Shapes Meaning: A Functional Theory of Language 3. Shared Reading as a Pedagogical Practice: Learning through Language 4. Shared Reading from Birth to Eighteen Months: Semiotic Beginnings 5. Shared Reading from Eighteen to Twenty-Four Months: Representing Experience 6. Shared Reading from Two to Three Years: Language, Literature and Learning 7. Shared Reading with Infants and Toddlers in Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 8. Picture Books for Children from Birth to Three