Reading Tips for Parents of Toddlers
Early Literacy skills are an important focus at The LUX School, which is why we integrate reading and reading skills into all our classrooms. Reading and an exposure to books are significant factors for academic success later in life.
Read every day (short, simple, often)
To provide the most influential literacy exposure to children it is best to start at an early age reading every day. For toddlers keep the reading short, read only as long as their focus and desire to read continues. Simple stories are enjoyable and easy to remember allowing kids to become a part of the reading process.
Don’t expect them to sit still
Many toddlers will not sit still for a full story, that is absolutely OK. They may wiggle, play, dance, or even act out the story. Exposure to language and an enjoyment of reading is the primary goal in the toddler years; allow them to have fun with reading. Keep the experience light and happy.
Engage them – ask questions
As you read discuss what is happening and ask questions about parts of the story or pictures that they see. This can often be surprising as children may notice different things than we expect. Try to ask open ended questions that allow for more than a yes or no answers. In time they too will likely start to ask questions.
Let them contribute to the story
Toddlers may want to add sounds, say repeated phrases, or add to the story in some other way. Any contribution a child may offer deepens a connection to what is being read and increases their enjoyment. Focus on loving the journey of reading over completing the book.
Describe the books you read, the sounds they hear, the pictures they see, the characters present. If they are able, they can describe what they see or notice about the book themselves. Connecting to things they know can make a book more meaningful.
Choose books that interest them
When choosing books considering the interests of your child will make a enormous difference in their involvement with the book. Getting a book about vehicles will likely be a favorite for a child who loves cars and they will want to come back to it again and again. Reading the same favorite book over and over may at times seem tedious to adults but for young children it is encouraging a love of reading.
Lots of pictures
Many pictures provide ample subjects to discuss, look at, and think about. Books with interesting or vibrant pictures tend to capture the attention of children more and for longer periods of time than books with minimal or small pictures.
Songs and rhymes
Books that incorporate or are based on familiar songs and rhymes let small children become part of the reading process. When they are already familiar with a rhyme or song they may read along with you even when they can’t yet read the words.
Do the voices
Giving the characters distinct voices add to the pleasure of reading a story. When reading is entertaining, children want to do it often. Character voices will bring the story to life for your child.
Most of all make sure to have fun. Reading should be a bonding time for you and your toddler. Loving the experience of reading with your child will be a gift that keeps on giving for both of you.