Do this one thing for a smarter child

Article at a Glance

  • Reading from infancy offers benefits that toys and games do not.
  • Parents should read aloud to their children every day.
  • Choose books that are age appropriate, we provide a list to help you get started.


A lot of fads have come and gone over the years that claimed to make babies smarter. But toys, videos, and games still take a back seat to one time-tested brain builder—reading. While it may be some time before your child will be reading on his or her own, reading from infancy offers an array of benefits, from bonding to building early literacy skills.

“Our favorite books are the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems.”
— Becca C. in Orem, Utah

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) encourages doctors to speak to parents about the importance of reading aloud to children every day. But what books are best? Here are some of our favorites for each age group:

Books for Infants

At this stage, the book itself is less important than the time, affection, and stimulation that goes along with it. Look for big, colorful images, durability (there’s a high likelihood that the book could become a teething object),  and a story you’ll enjoy reading aloud.


  • Goodnight Moon is a classic bedtime story, first published in 1947.
  • Peek-a-Boo Forest and similar cloth books are short reads that’s are also fun to touch.
  • Dr. Seuss’s ABC Book is a classic with colorful pictures that help introduce colors, language, and counting.

For more great titles for infants, visit

Books for Toddlers

At this age,  your child will recognize that books contain interesting pictures and stories and may invite you to read. On the other hand, toddlers may also have strong opinions on what to read. You may find yourself reading the same book again and again, so try to bring home titles that are fun for both of you.


“If you don’t mind tears and snot running down your face, read “I Love You Forever.”
— James H. in Provo, Utah

Books for Preschoolers

The right mix of fun characters, striking images, and subtle lessons can make for a great story in a preschooler’s eyes. Kids this age often want to turn the pages themselves and may reject board books. A roll of clear tape is a handy back-up for this time of fine motor skill development.


  • Little Blue Truck is full of animal noises and will have your children quacking along.
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a classic that makes its way onto almost every recommended reading lists for its bold colors and lively alphabet rhymes.
  • Do Pigs Have Stripes? encourages kids to play along with each silly question.

Books for Kindergarteners

Because kindergarteners are beginning to read and have longer attention spans, they might enjoy books that tell more complex stories. It’s great to share books you remember from childhood, but don’t forget to invite kids to select titles based on their interests too.

“We always have a good laugh when we read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”
— Karla B. in American Fork, Utah


For more great titles for this age group, see the Kindergarten Canon from the Thomas Fordham Insititute or see all the great kids’s book lists from the Provo Library.







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