StoryBabies: The development of a website to support book reading with babies

Michelle Brown, Charles Sturt University, Australia (
Sharynne McLeod, Charles Sturt University, Australia (

Background: Literacy is a powerful predicator of later-life outcomes; including, quality of life, tertiary education, and occupation. Families, educators, and health professionals play important roles in supporting infants on their journey to mastering literacy, through book reading during infancy. While the importance of book reading during infancy is well recognised, there are few evidenced-based resources aimed specifically at supporting families, educators, and health professionals with book reading with infants birth-to-2-years.

Aim: StoryBabies was designed to empower families, educators, and health professionals with an evidence-based, free, online, book reading intervention, aimed at maximising the learning opportunity that book reading during infancy provides.

Method:  The StoryBabies website amalgamated seven years of research into book reading with infants. Perspectives and practices from 3,500+ caregivers with infants were examined in three studies. Intervention research included typically developing children and children with hearing loss. Five key steps to book reading with infants were identified and led to the creation of five topic areas: (1) Best Books, (2) Seating Success, (3) Take Turns and Teach, (4) Sounds and Actions, and (5) Read Every Day.  

Results and conclusions: StoryBabies has the potential to be a useful platform for supporting families, educators, and health professionals with strategies to scaffold interactions during book reading to strengthen early language and social communication skills. In turn, strong language and social communication skills sets children up for success with learning literacy.

Implications for children: You love reading books with us, and we love reading books with you! StoryBabies helps your mum, dad, grandparent, educator, and other people who care for you, with tips on what to say and do while looking at a storybook with you.

Implications for families: We know you read books with your baby and are well aware of the importance of book reading. StoryBabies has been created to provide you with support about how you can shape the interactions that you are already doing to strengthen your baby’s communication skills. Strong communication skills now, will support your child with learning to read as they grow older.

Implications for practitioners: StoryBabies is an evidence-based, free, online resource to support you with book reading with infants. The strategies are designed to extend your current practices and capitalise on the learning opportunity that book reading during infancy provides for strengthening language and social communication skills.

Key words: literacy, book reading, evidence-based intervention, communication

This presentation relates to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: