The benefits of reading are virtually endless for babies, toddlers, and beyond. From building vocabulary to learning about emotions, your toddler has so much to learn from books, even if she’s just looking at the pages and hearing your words as you read.
Toddlerhood is an important time for your toddler to soak up everything reading has to offer, and fostering a strong love for reading at an early age can set the bar for a genuine desire to read and learn later on.
Helping Your Toddler Learn to Love Reading
The best way to get your toddler to delve into books is to show her how incredible reading time can be! Here are a few tips:
Choose relevant books.
Reading can be a perfect way to relate to what’s going on in your toddler’s life. When you choose books that make sense to her – like stories about getting a new sibling or starting daycare – she’ll begin to understand that books have meaning and can be invaluable resources for learning.
You can also use books to reinforce learning about unique places you visit, like the zoo or a park, or day-to-day activities like grocery shopping, eating, and taking care of a pet. Eventually, she’ll make the connection that she can always turn to a book to understand and absorb information about her world.
Make it a family (or friend) affair.
Getting others to join in your reading activities and routines can make books even more entertaining for your toddler. Consider asking grandparents or other family members to join your storytime, or get her siblings or cousins to participate. You could also organize a playdate for your toddler and some of her peers and have plenty of books available for them to look at and read with the adults.
Take advantage of library programs.
Many libraries are very child-focused; they understand the importance of raising children who love to read! Check to see if your local branch has reading programs for babies and toddlers. These programs usually involve storytime and playtime with a central theme and a craft or activity to go along with the story. Often, libraries have weekly or bi-weekly programs in the morning and evening to remain flexible around family and work schedules.
Bring stories to life.
Your toddler will light up when she learns that stories go far beyond what she sees on the pages of a book! Be animated when you read with your toddler to keep her interested and excited. Use different voices and emotions as you read. You can even act out the story with your toddler as you go along, put on a puppet show, or reenact stories during pretend play. Explore our BabySparks development program to get suggestions for fun reading activities you can do with your toddler.
Encouraging your toddler’s love for reading at such a young age will help her understand that books are more than just pictures and words – they literally give us a whole new world at our fingertips. The steps you take now toward raising a little reader can keep her reading by choice well into the future.