By the time your child enters toddlerhood, they’ve already begun to develop a real love of sharing books. Reading is a lovely way to bond with your toddler. It is much less about story and plot and much more about having your undivided attention, snuggling up close and hearing the sound of your voice. This will lay down a love of books, stories and reading that will make the formal transition to phonics and literacy much easier at school.
Toddlers love a laugh, love to notice cause and effect, love the rhythm of language and enjoy books where they can join in.
We are so lucky to have many amazing books, written for toddlers, that contain some or all of these elements. Ask at your local library for book recommendations. My favourites include:
“Each, Peach, Pear, Plum”
“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”
“Room on the Broom”
and anything by Dr Seuss…anything with compelling pictures and great rhythm.
Sometimes parents find it difficult to talk to a toddler who cannot talk or talk fluidly; books help to overcome this. Your toddler will probably begin to respond with squeals of delight and in time she may join in with the rhyme at the end of a verse.
There are so many different types of books that you can buy, or borrow from the library. It’s lovely to spend some time at the library looking at all the different types of books: board books, pop-up books, books with buttons to press that make sounds, as well as simple picture books. There are also books and reading games on tablets, which can be a fun part of your toddler’s love of stories and words.
All the talking and listening that you do while sharing a book with help to develop your toddler’s social and literacy skills. Studies of child development have found that children who have the opportunity to share books with their parents and have books around the house (either from the library or bought) perform better at school. Books do seem to have a special role in a child’s emotional and cognitive development.