Should I let my child play with/break the books? – Mel, South London
Babies and young children need the opportunity to explore books independently if they are to become confident with books, see them as a source of pleasure and begin to develop as readers. Young children explore everything in their world very physically with their hands, and in the case of babies, with their mouths as well, seeming to literally devour books! It is important to let very young children have the opportunity for exploration but also important to ensure they are not allowed to completely destroy books and that they gradually learn how books should be handled. You can do this when you share books together, showing them how to hold a book and turn the pages. Some books have flaps to lift or levers to pull; you might want to keep these for sharing with adults only. There are some wonderful board books available to buy and to borrow from local library services which are much sturdier for inquisitive fingers than paperbacks .