Mother–infant shared book reading in the first year of life

Publication Name

Infant and Child Development


This study examined verbal and non-verbal features of mother–infant shared book reading in Australia during the first year of life and explored the relationship between these features and infant cognition. Mother–infant dyads were observed in this cross-sectional study reading an unfamiliar book in a laboratory setting when infants were aged 6 months (n = 17), 9 months (n = 14), or 12 months (n = 17). High frequency maternal behaviours coded from video were the production of attention attracting behaviours, immediate talk, and verbal encouragement to maintain infant book engagement. Few significant relationships were found for infant problem-solving scores. Infant communication scores were however associated with non-immediate talk at 6 months, maternal questions at 9 months, and non-book related talk at 12 months. Shared book reading provides opportunities for verbal responsiveness and literacy engagement which likely serve as an important vehicle for facilitating early cognitive development.

Open Access Status

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Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



Link to publisher version (DOI)