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Shaking Up Storytime

Is your baby more interested in gnawing on The Very Hungry Caterpillar than listening to you read it? Luckily, a wriggly infant doesn't need to sit through pages of text to reap the benefits of being read to, which come from hearing new words, exploring pictures, and snuggling with you. "I've seen far too many parents try to read to their baby 'the right way,'" says Susan Straub, coauthor of Reading With Babies, Toddlers and Twos. "But there is no right way. You just have to keep at it and enjoy it." Because the magic of Go, Dog, Go! can wear off for you, too, after 256 readings, here are some fun ideas to bring storytime to life for both of you:

Create your own wild plot for the pictures in the book.(Maybe Goodnight Moon is really a mystery.)

Cover a picture and ask "Where's the bunny?"
Then lift your hand and say "Peekaboo!"

Substitute your baby's name for a name in the book, such as "The Runaway Emily."

Make it real, grabbing an orange or a rattle to compare to the pictures in her book.

Stack books like blocks, or put them in a wagon to pull into another room. The more your baby interacts with books as playthings, the more she'll enjoy discovering what's inside.