SHARED by: Katherine Grier, Librarian at York Avenue Preschool

Last week, I shared some tips about what types of books to read with your toddler. Now that you have a stack of books ready and waiting, here are some tips for reading those books aloud

How to Read to Your Toddlers:

  • Read with expression, pitching your voice higher or lower where it’s appropriate or using different voices for different characters.  Make funny sounds or sing-— anything that shows that reading is fun.
  • Don’t worry about following the text exactly. Stop once in a while and ask questions or make comments on the pictures or text.  If your child might isn’t able to verbally respond yet, ask him or her to point things out to you or make noises.
  • Don’t worry about finishing entire books — Some kids will sit and listen, others will want to hold the book, turn the pages, carry it around or even chew it.  Let reading be a tactile, as well as a visual experience.
  • Toddlers love — and learn from — repetition, so don’t be afraid of reading the same books over and over.  If you want to introduce new books, think about doing it at a time that is different from your normal reading time.  For example, if your child likes to hear the same stories before bedtime, try introducing new stories right after nap time or during dinner.
  • Choose books that are interactive.
    • Toddlers love to lift flaps, feel textures, push sound buttons, and “seek and find.”  Our family loved the Woof! and Meow! books by Begin Smart Books, and I highly recommend Magic Colors, Magic Numbers, Magic Shapes, and Magic Opposites all by Patrick George. Each contains a clear plastic inset page that magically changes the content of the page it is placed upon.
    • There are also lots of books that invite your child to interact with the book through the text, such as Eric Carle’s From Head to Toe, Bill Martin’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, Jan Thomas’ Can you Make a Scary Face?, and Doreen Cronin’s Wiggle.  If your book does not have a built in interactive feature, make it interactive by having your child make familiar sounds (“beep, beep” “choo, choo” “moo, baa, la, la, la”).  They also can predict what will happen next or chime in with repetitive text, like “we’re going on a bear hunt/we’re going to catch a big one/it’s a beautiful day/we’re not scared”
  • Once your toddler is verbal, try adding wordless picture books to your collection. You and your child can “tell” the story together. A couple great ones to start with are Wave by Suzy Lee and Chalk by Bill Thompson.
  • Above all, have fun!!

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