Tips for Reading to Toddlers

Parents and caregivers of toddlers know that they are very independent, and love to investigate their own ideas. While this curiosity is a wonderful way to help them learn, your toddler may not always have the best attention span for sitting down and reading a book together. Here are some tips for reading to toddlers.

  • Choose regular reading times. Young children thrive on routine, and knowing that they can expect their favorite story at bedtime, for example, will give your child important structure and something to look forward to.
  • Let your child pick the book. Even if you may get tired of reading the same book every night, allowing your child to choose the book will not further reinforce their love of reading.
  • Gauge your toddler’s interest level. Even with their favorite book, your child may not have the attention span to get to the end. Read as much as your toddler can handle, and don’t worry about sticking to the story.
  • Allow your toddler to move. Infants and older children may happily sit still for storytime, but toddlers love to move, dance, and sing. Incorporate this into your reading time, and have fun with it.
  • Ask questions while reading. Toddlers are endlessly curious, and asking questions about the story will engage their curiosity and develop their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Read aloud in an engaging way. By using different voices for each character and modifying the level of your voice depending on what’s happening in the story, you can show your child that reading is fun and creative.
  • Choose toddler-friendly books. Depending on your toddler’s age, a paper book may be torn and pulled apart by curious hands, and a board book may be more appropriate. Choose the book that will be best for your child’s hands-on interests.
  • Have books readily available. Toddlers investigate their curiosity, so having books in several locations means that your child can pick one up and ask for a story wherever in the house they happen to be.

Books are perfect for a toddler’s curiosity and creativity. With these tips, you can help your toddler foster a lifelong love of reading.