Encouraging Reading Part Two: Your Toddler

It has been a while since I first wrote about encouraging reading in your infant and I thought it was about time that I get back to this series in case there were some of you waiting for me to get on with it.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am a big fan of reading. Life wouldn’t be the same if I couldn’t curl up with a good book or two or three. My husband is always shaking his head because I will read several books at a time and I used to keep a book for each level of the house (or room). A book upstairs for when I wanted to read in bed, a book in the living room for when I was relaxing, a book in the baby’s room so I could read while I rocked him and a book in my oldest son’s room so I could read while he fell asleep. My husband has never understood that although I could get up and retrieve the current book from a location, it was difficult to get up with a cranky baby and search for a book. Having several on the go made it much easier to read along to the flow of life without disrupting other people’s routines.

Yep, not too obsessed with books and reading and thankfully my kids are almost as bad as I am.

As many of you know, the toddler stage is the age where mimicking begins and many children will continue with mimicking for many years. It is important that you demonstrate excellent reading habits, even at such a young age. It has been proven that parents who read will have children who enjoy reading as well. It is important for both mom’s and dad’s to read. In regards to boys, having dad read is an excellent way to teach boys that it can be an enjoyable past time for men and women.

Now that I have you reading, let’s look at having your toddler reading. Below are a few tips:

  • Read every day: Set up a time that you read with your child everyday. I liked to have free time each day where my kids could bring me a book to read and I would stop whatever I was doing (usually housework) to read a story. I also had a set time where I would read for 15 minutes. This was always the bedtime story and it not only laid the foundation for reading but it also settled them down for sleeping.
  • Picture books: Picture books are very important at this stage. Children can look at pictures to decipher the story while you read it. This will build on imagery and on creating stories of their own.
  • Nursery Rhymes: Finger Plays and nursery rhymes may not have a book associated with them but singing little songs and nursery rhymes will help your child develop an interest in stories and rhythm.
  • Turn the book: One of the key ingredients to reading is having the pages facing the right way. Watch your child while she flips through a book and take a moment to turn it so the book is right-side up.
  • Point to the words: Like the little bouncy ball following the words on a sing-along, your finger teaches a child that reading is from left to right. He will begin to follow your finger, taking in the words that you are saying and eventually, he will start remembering the words that you point to.

Reading at this stage can be filled with a lot of trials and tribulations. Children may have a shorter attention span than before and with all the new things to explore, they may not want to sit down for a moment. It is important to make reading a part of your daily schedule and another layer of foundation will be added to your child’s reading development.

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