Reading with Toddlers: 10 Tips for Success

Reading with Toddlers: 10 Tips for Success

Reading with toddlers can be challenging but not impossible. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things about how to read to toddlers. In this post, I share 10 tips for having successful storytime. 

1. Pop Up:

Toddlers enjoy books that have pop up pictures or peek-a-boo features like flaps or sliders. They also enjoy books that have buttons, especially buttons that play a sound. 

2. Colorful:

Children love looking at pictures in books that have bold colors. Don’t choose books that have really small pictures. 

3. Timing:

Pick a time of the day when your child is calm. Don’t try to read books right after playing a really exciting game in the backyard. 

4. Be in Control:

Teach your child how to handle books by modeling. I suggest that you hold the book and turn the pages. You can teach your child how to turn the pages by turning them together. Be ok if your toddler rips a page. Cardboard books are great but not always available.

5. Don’t Dwell:

Sometimes, your child is not ready for listening to every single word written on the page. Instead, summarize the page by using simple and short phrases. If this still doesn’t work, flip through the pages quickly but make sure to point out things on each page by labeling 1-2 pictures and pointing at them. 

6. Repetition:

Choose books that are repetitive and easy for your child to remember. For example, some books start with the same phrase on every page. Another example would be books that have one character who always says the same thing throughout the story. 

7. Move It:

I like to move it move it! Children love music. Melody can also be part of reading stories. Choose books that rhyme and read them like a song. Also, look for books that encourage movement.

8. Act:

Pretend you’re a happy Disney character when you read books. Be animated and be excited. Make sound effects even if not explicitly written in the book. 

9. Get Close:

Have your child sit on your lap or sit close to your child. This is a great bonding experience and body contact helps your child stay calm and happy. 

10. Suspense:

Create a feeling of suspense when possible by covering the next page quickly and asking your child about what’s going to happen next. Don’t be boring. Asking your child, “What do you think the monster will do next?” does not create the same effect as saying, “Oh no, is the monster going to eat him?”

Well, there you have it. Try them all or try a few but always remember to have FUN with books.

Avoid asking too many questions while reading a book. Although it is important to check for understanding, it’s more important to develop a love of reading at an early age. Choose age-appropriate books in order to improve understanding of a book. 

Want some ideas and activities for reading to your child? Check out these two blogs: 

  1. Activities for Learning Vocabulary 
  2. Fish Theme- Fun & Educational Toddler Activities 

Do you have some tips of your own? I’d love for you to share them in the comments below. 


Photo credit: evilpeacock on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA