Sharing books and reading with toddlers
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Rebecca Chicot PhD

Child development expert with a Phd from Cambridge University. She has worked on several best-selling books and BBC documentaries. She is the proud mother of three children.
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Toddler Development & Learning

Sharing books and reading with toddlers

Sharing a book with your toddler is a lovely way to bond and encourage a love of stories and reading. Sharing a book is not about teaching your toddler to read - it's much more holistic and fundamental that that. She will love to sit on your lap, have your undivided attention, turn pages and look at pictures as she hears you tell the story or read out the rhymes.
In Short
Reading is a lovely way to bond with your toddler and to them, it’s more than the story. They love sitting close, having your attention and hearing the sound of your voice.

Toddlers love to laugh and find 'cause and effect' so often featured in children's books intriguing. They also hugely enjoy the rhythm of language and love books where they can join in or see something pop up out of the pages.

The talking and listening that takes place when you share a book will help to develop your baby’s social and literacy skills. Studies have found that children who have the opportunity to share books with their parents and have books around the house perform better at school.

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.

What kind of books do toddlers like?

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.

Note
Top Tip: Sharing books with your baby develops a love of reading. It becomes very much a part of a child’s life so that when they come to learning literacy it’s much easier because the love of books has been established early on.
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DISCLAIMER
This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Essential Parent has used all reasonable care in compiling the information from leading experts and institutions but makes no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details click here.