Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Foundation: Interest In Print

California Infant/Toddler Learning & Development Foundations.
The developing interest in engaging with print in books and in the environment
8 months 18 months 36 months

At around eight months of age, children explore books and show interest in adult-initiated literacy activities, such as looking at photos and exploring books together with an adult. (Scaled score of 10 for 7:16–8:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 57; infants; National Research Council 1999, 28)

At around 18 months of age, children listen to the adult and participate while being read to by pointing, turning pages, or making one- or two-word comments. Children actively notice print in the environment.

At around 36 months of age, children show appreciation for books and initiate literacy activities: listening, asking questions, or making comments while being read to; looking at books on their own; or making scribble marks on paper and pretending to read what is written. (Schickedanz and Casbergue 2004, 11)

For example, the child may:

  • Point to or indicate an object that he would like the infant care teacher to pay attention to.

  • Look intently at photographs of classmates when the infant care teacher talks about the pictures. (8–9 mos.; Parks 2004, 71)

  • Look at pictures that a parent points to while reading a storybook. (Scaled score of 10 for 7:16–8:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 57; infants; National Research Council 1999, 28)

  • Hold a book and try to turn the pages. (Scaled score of 10for 7:16–8:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 57)

For example, the child may:

  • Attempt to turn the pages of a paper book, sometimes turning more than one page at a time. (15–18 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Pretend to read the back of a cereal box while sitting at the kitchen table in the house area. (15–18 mos.; Parks 2004, 27)

  • Recognize a favorite book by its cover. (Toddler; National Research Council 1999, 28)

  • Pull the infant care teacher by the hand to the bookshelf, point, and express “book” to get the infant care teacher to read a story. (12–18 mos.;
    Lerner and Ciervo 2003)

  • Point to or indicate a familiar sign in the neighborhood.

For example, the child may:

  • Enjoy both being read to and looking at books by himself. (30–36 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Pretend to read books to stuffed animals by telling a story that is related to the pictures and turning the book around to show the picture to the stuffed animals, just as the infant care teacher does when reading to a small group of children. (Ehri and Sweet 1991, 199; 24–36 mos.; Sulzby 1985)

  • Talk about the trip to the library and ask about the next trip. (35 mos.; Hart and Risley 1999, 128)

  • Recite much of a favorite book from memory while “reading” it to others or self. (36 mos.; National Research Council 1999, 28)

  • Try to be careful with books. (By 36 mos.; National Research Council 1999, 3)

Behaviors leading up to the foundation (4 to 7 months)

During this period, the child may:

  • Chew on a board book. (International Reading Association and the National Association for the Education of Young Children 1998, 198; 3–6 mos.; Parks 2004)

Behaviors leading up to the foundation (9 to 17 months)

During this period, the child may:

  • Try to turn the pages of a paper book, turning several pages at one time. (scaled score of 10 for 9:16–10:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 128)

  • Scribble with a crayon. (Scaled score of 10 for 12:16–13:15 mos.; Bayley 2006, 129)

  • Smile and point to or indicate pictures of favorite animals in a book. (10–14 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Help the infant care teacher turn a page of a book. (14–15 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Use an open hand to pat a picture while reading with a family member. (14–15 mos.; Parks 2004)

Behaviors leading up to the foundation (19 to 35 months)

During this period, the child may:

  • Move behind the infant care teacher in order to look over her shoulder at the pictures, when there are several children crowded around. (18–24 mos.; Parks 2004, 68)

  • Turn the pages of a book one by one. (18–24 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Listen as a family member reads short picture books aloud. (Scaled score of 10 for 21:15–22:16 mos.; Bayley 2006, 67; 27–30 mos.; Parks 2004)

  • Ask a question about a story; for example, “Bear go?” while turning from one page to the next. (24 mos.; Meisels and others 2003, 47)

References for the Language Development Domain

Return to Contents

Questions:   Early Education Division | itfoundations@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, December 28, 2022
Recently Posted in Early Education