Reading with your toddler
The most important thing you can do to help your child become a reader is to enjoy books together – and it’s never too early to start.
Talk about books
Talking about a book helps to get toddlers involved and is an excellent way of developing their language skills at the same time. As you read, talk about the pictures and point out things your toddler might have missed. Ask young toddlers to point to things in a picture as you name them. As their language develops, see if they can name things as you point to them. You could also ask simple questions about how the characters in a story might feel.
Read out loud
Before reading a book to your toddler, try to find time to read it yourself first. Stories are easier to read aloud if you’re already familiar with them, and you can spot things in advance that your toddler might find puzzling or disturbing. Encourage toddlers to choose which book they want to read, and let them hold the book and turn the pages. The first time you read a book, they may just want to look through it, so don’t worry if you have to miss out bits of the story. The main thing is to let them enjoy exploring the book – you can read the whole story another time.
Toddlers love to hear their favourite stories over and over again, so be prepared to read the same book many, many times. This constant repetition gives toddlers confidence and is really important for their language learning – they need to hear a word or phrase many times before they can use it themselves. They also need to learn that the language of a story stays the same no matter how often you read it. Above all, they need to have fun!
Why read to babies and toddlers?
• Babies and toddlers who are read to a lot often have longer attention spans.
• Reading to toddlers helps them to learn new words and become better talkers.
• Books can help in tackling issues such as potty training or a new baby.
• Sharing story books together helps toddlers to recognise and talk about their feelings.
Information taken from: Usborne Parents' Guide: Help your child to read and write