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5 tips for reading to a toddler

A nursery teacher reads to children at a private nursery school January 28, 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland
Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Reading to kids should begin when they are babies and once a child is a toddler, he or she will be used to being read to. Reading to children is so important because it where they learn their basic reading skills. When a toddler sees a parent or caretaker pointing to the words and reading, the connection begins between the written word and verbal expression.

Although a toddler may be used to being read to, it does not mean that it is always easy. The fact is toddlers are always on the move, have short attention span and do not always cooperate the way you would like them to.

Here you will find five tips for reading to a toddler; remember you need to work with your child. Only read when your child is in the mood so that it is a positive experience.

Scheduled reading time

Try to schedule a regular reading time for your toddler to sit down with you and read; a great time is very often before bedtime when young children are quieted down and getting sleepy. It is important to read to your toddler every day, but only if they are in the mood for reading. Keeping the reading experience a positive time is imperative so if your toddler is not in the mood, skip a day and try again tomorrow.

Read books your toddler enjoys

Many times toddlers will have one or a couple books that are favorites of theirs. Although it is great to expose your little one to a variety of books, it is important to read their favorites to them. If your toddler wants books read over and over again to them, indulge them and read it. The idea is to instill a love of reading and an awareness of print, so multiple readings is an excellent way to accomplish these goals.

Ask questions while reading

When kids get into elementary school, they are taught to make meaning from texts and an excellent way to start this thinking is by asking your toddler open ended questions while reading. Every couple pages or when appropriate, ask specific why or what questions about the story. Not only is reading important but talking about the story is just as important.

Talk about the illustrations

Kids can make meaning from the illustrations and this is a strategy to use to learn how to read,so talking about the pictures with your toddler is a great thing to do. After time, your toddler will be more aware of the illustrations and eventually start connecting the words with the pictures.

Be expressive and read slow

Kids enjoy variety of tone and expressive language when being read to, toddlers will pick up on the fluctuation in voice very quickly and they get excited about it. Reading at a nice pace is important for toddlers to pick up what is being read to them, I always suggest to parents that reading a little slower is a really great thing for a toddler as it gives them more time to process the information.

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