Reading with your toddler can often be an adventure. They rarely sit still to listen to a book, and they love to interject their own comments. But your child must learn to enjoy reading. Why? Reading is one of the most significant ways your child is learning. It introduces them to worlds they don’t know yet, teaches them new vocabulary, and even builds their emotional intelligence. I’m excited to share with you a few ways that you can bring books to life and help your toddler enjoy reading.
Watch a Video of the Book
YouTube is fantastic for this! Don’t own a book you think your child would love? No need to purchase something new. Find a video of your book being read. Sit down with your toddler and watch the video while following along in your own book (as much as possible – don’t stress this)! My son loves watching a video of me reading the book to him.
So during nap time, quickly film a video of yourself reading their favorite book. Save it as a favorite video on your phone, and return to it whenever you read that book. Videos like this are also great when you’re at a restaurant and need a quiet minute. It’s screentime but “better” screentime, ha! I have several videos of me reading aloud on my YouTube channel, as well.
Act Out a Book
Want to bring a book to life when you’re reading with your toddler? Act it out! Include costumes, props, and anything else that can make the text more fun. Imagine the story, the Three Little Pigs. You can act it out with costumes and pretend houses. Or you can make puppets and hold a puppet show. Or you can use dolls and stuffed animals. There are so many simple ways to bring a book to life!
You Don’t Have to Read Everything When You’re Reading with Your Toddler
Spoiler alert: you don’t have to read every word in the book. You can “read” a synopsis of each page. Or you can just point at pictures and talk about what you’re seeing. Our currently three-year-old son doesn’t have the patience to sit through an entire book, so skimming the pages, pointing to pictures, and naming what we see has been a massive help in making reading time more fun.
Do a picture walk
I used this strategy in the classroom constantly. Before reading a book, we would do a picture walk (even if it’s just the cover of a chapter book for bigger kids). I flip through the pages, and we discuss what we see. I still do this with my children before we read because it gets them thinking about the story and often decreases their urge to flip to the next page quickly while you’re trying to calmly read a book.
For younger kids, you can point to things “Oh wow – look at the snow falling… He has an orange coat! Just like you!… Woah – he found a stick!” and you can have a conversation with older kids. “What do you notice about the illustrations? What stands out to you most? What do you predict this story is about? I think the character….” Be sure to be an active participant in the conversation, too.
Helps Your Child Succeed
Did you know that reading could help your child see lifetime success? Many parents are looking for ways to give their kids a leg up in this world. It can be easy to see our world is becoming more and more competitive and our children need all the help they can get. There are many things parents can do to help their children succeed in life. However, one of the greatest things parents can do for their children to encourage their success is to facilitate a love of reading from an early age.
Most importantly, be sure to model how much you enjoy reading. Your child learns from you, so if you think reading is fun, so will they. By making time for reading on your own, reading with them, and reading side-by-side, your toddler will start to understand how essential reading is in their life and that it’s a fun thing to incorporate!
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