Black and White Learning Time for Libraries and Playgroups

Resource type: 
Learning Time




Black and White 

By Jane Foster 


Black and White is filled with high contrast shapes, animals and patterns. Introducing babies to books with high contrast black and white patterns, shapes and objects allows them to focus more easily on the images in front of them. This is a delightful board book is perfect to share with babies. 

Key Message for Parents 

The first five years matter and last a lifetime 

In the first five years of a child’s life up to 90% of brain development occurs. We can support this early and critical development with daily reading, singing, talking and playing with children right from the start. It is important that families understand the early years and how they can support their child’s development. 

Some suggestions to share with parents on how to use books with babies: 

  • Routines are important, incorporate books into your daily routine. Share stories, before/after sleep time or during tummy time 
  • Board books are great for babies. Let them chew or suck on them, exploring is how babies learn 
  • Spend time looking at and pointing out the pictures, ‘here is a wiggly caterpillar’. 
  • Take your time. Let babies look at the pictures. With high contrast images babies will be captivated, so allow plenty of time to look at each image. 


Learning Outcomes 

Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators 

From birth children communicate by gestures and sounds. During story time, practitioners can be a role model for parents and carers by supporting children to become effective communicators in the following ways: 

  • At story time, response to babies in direct and meaningful ways. Encourage eye contact, positive body language such as smiling and pause to allow babies to respond to you by babbling, cooing or gesturing 
  • Sing songs at sessions. Advise parents of the benefits of singing and chanting with babies and young children, telling them ‘as we sing we slow down our speech thus helping babies to hear the sounds and parts of words more clearly. This helps them to learn language  
  • Talk with babies about what they are doing, seeing, hearing or touching. Multisensory experiences are great at supporting healthy brain development for babies. 


Before Reading 

In group settings multiple copies of books are always preferred. Alternatively, role model to parents how to engage with babies while sharing this story. Invite parents or carers to hold their baby close to them as you read aloud. 

Take the opportunity to tell families about the benefit of high contrast images, and how babies can see black and white images much more clearly. You might like to print out images to give to parents to show their baby as you read the story aloud. 

During Reading 

This story is quite simple, so you can share it 1 or 2 times and role model different ways to share stories to parents. After reading it through once, you may like to share this story again and instead of reading the words on the pages you may like to describe some of the patterns you can see. Point out the shapes and patterns as you read, using a wide range of words such as zig zags, stripes, spots, dots, curves, lines and swirls. Share with parents that babies will learn to speak by listening to language so encourage them to use as many words in everyday experiences as they can. 

After Reading 

Spend time noticing patterns and shapes around you. Explain to parents how they can be sharing with their baby, interacting with them and pointing out shapes or patterns in their everyday routines. Match some of the shapes and patterns to those in your environment, baby’s clothes or toys, or even to pictures in other books. 

Have a selection of board books available and invite parents to borrow them after the story time session. Encourage them to incorporate books into their daily routine at home – a board book is a great item to have during tummy time. 


 For full Activity Time please download the attached PDF

Associated books: 
No votes yet