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How to Read to a Toddler

How to Read to a ToddlerWe all know about the importance of teaching children to love reading– not only does it teach language skills, but it is an excellent way to bond together.

Lately, reading to our toddler has become more of a chore than a pleasure. Sure, we all enjoy the time together and some of the stories are quite good, but getting her to sit down and pay attention is turning into a losing battle. Instead of fighting, we’ve given in to her toddler whims and gone with them. Here’s what has worked for us.

  • Make reading fun. We try to read fun books to her (anything by Dr. Seuss will work). Not only are the illustrations wildly colorful and imaginative, but the rhyming verses also capture her attention. Also, instead of reading the same few books every night, we try to mix it up and rotate her books. That way, she isn’t hearing the same stories and looking at the same illustrations every night.
  • Read interactive books. “Pat the Bunny” and lift-the-flap books are amusing for toddlers – not only are there a story and illustrations, but the child is able to take part in the book instead of passively listening.
  • Allow play during reading time. Instead of sitting down and reading to our daughter, we let her play with the books. Not only does she have fun turning the pages and pointing to some of the drawings, she also seems to be making up her own story to go along with them. (A note to the type A moms like me: it’s OK to keep reading the story while your child turns the pages back and forth and skips pages – since you have the story memorized anyway, go ahead and “read” it from start to finish.)
  • Make up a new story. Turn one of your child’s books into a new story – instead of reading the story, look at the pictures and make up something else. Instead of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?“, maybe it’s a trip to the zoo or someone’s house pets. “Guess How Much I Love You” could be a series of sporting events.
  • Act out the story. Instead of just using different voices for different characters (which is also a good way to make reading fun), involve yourself and your kids in the story – act out certain scenes or just do what the characters are doing. Have your child jump up and down when a character does, or just make the same facial expressions.

Reading is an important step in your child’s development – making reading more fun can be a good way to enjoy story time together with your toddler.


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