Reading to Your Toddler

The more words your young child hears at home, the better he or she will do in school. And a great way to expose your little one to a lot of language is to read to him or her.

Reading to your toddler improves language and visualization skills and helps create a stronger bond between you and your child. Picture books and stories help your toddler deal with developmental milestones and life challenges, learn about the world and expand his or her vocabulary.

Tips for Reading Together

Toddlers can be impatient readers; some will push to turn the page before you’re ready; others won’t sit still long enough to get through a book. All of this is normal and OK; it’s best to just go with the flow and not push things.

As your toddler gets older and more able to understand a story, try these tips to keep him or her involved and engaged as you read:

  • Let your child choose a story on her own, even if it’s the same story over and over.
  • Pause to ask questions, such as: “What do you think will happen?”
  • Have your child describe what’s happening in pictures.
  • Choose books that have your child’s name. There are even companies that will make custom books for you.
  • Choose books on subjects that interest your child.

The National Science Teaching Association also recommends the following:

  • Choose interactive books that ask questions or assign tasks to young readers.
  • Choose books that are durable. Board books and cloth books stand the test of time with young children, particularly toddlers.
  • Choose books that are fun. If it’s not fun for you to read, it won’t be fun for your toddler, either.

Give your toddler a head start in language development by reading to him or her as often as you can.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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