Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Tips for Reading to Toddlers

Recently a library patron asked me for book suggestions for her very active toddler. She wanted to read with her child to introduce her to books and encourage her love of reading but was having trouble getting through any picture book with her. Reading with toddlers can be challenging. If you have an active toddler, here are some tips for creating a positive reading experience:

· Have realistic expectations. Toddlers have very short attention spans and are easily distracted. You may be able to read to them for only a few minutes, and that’s okay. Just put the book down and try it again later, or try another one later.

· Choose your reading time carefully. Toddlers are busy little people, playing, exploring their world and constantly on the move. Snack time, after bath time, before bed, after a walk or a long playing session are all good times to try a story.

· Choose books that you and your toddler will enjoy. Choose books based on their interests, or let them choose books for themselves at the library or bookstore. Make sure the books are ones you don’t mind reading multiple times, as toddlers may want to read the same favorite book (or even the same few pages) over and over again.

· Bring the stories to life. Use exaggerated, funny voices, gestures and sounds while reading. Act the story out or use puppets to tell the story or even sing it!

· Encourage participation. Your child can help you act out the story, join in on repeated words or phrases, or find objects in the illustrations as you read together.

· Choose books that let your toddler explore/invite action. Pop-up books, books with flaps, touch-and-feel books, and board books all allow toddlers to explore through action - lifting flaps, feeling different textures, or turning pages.

· Read often. Let reading become part of your regular routine, even if it’s only for a few minutes a day, so that reading becomes an expected part of the day and a fun family tradition.

Guest post by Allison C.

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