Can you really share books with an active, independent, and busy toddler? Yes! These tips have worked for many parents and care providers.
Pick a book or let your toddler choose one. Point to a picture and read the words clearly. Encourage your child to notice details in the pictures. Talk with him about what happens in the story. Let him say the words to favorite stories along with you, if he wants to.
Toddlers like picture books about people, animals, familiar objects, and favorite characters, with simple stories and rhymes. Your child may ask for the same book over and over, or for books about a particular topic. Board books are good for toddlers who are still learning to care for books.
After a nap, after lunch, and before bed are popular times. Make reading part of your familys routines. Take books along when you go out with your toddler. Sharing books can be part of waiting at the doctors office or the bus stop. Read a story instead of watching TV. Take your toddler along to the library or bookstore to find new books to read.
Find a comfortable place where you both can see the pages. If your child enjoys turning pages, be sure she can reach the book. Lying in her crib, sitting on your lap, seated next to you on the couch, or in her car seat: any of these places can work for a read-aloud.
A few minutesonly as long as your toddler is interested. Some toddlers will listen for 10 minutes or more to a favorite book. Some will even insist on going through a stack of books with you! Others may be too active to sit still for long. Vary your voice or use a puppet or other prop to help hold your childs attention.
Parents, grandparents, librarians, child care providerseven older brothers and sisterscan help a toddler learn to love reading.
Keep trying, but dont force it. Toddlers are busy finding out about their world. Talk with your child, tell stories, sing, or recite poems. Let her see you reading. Take her to the library and the bookstore with you. Such invitations help many children develop an interest in reading.June 2004
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