When and How to Read to Toddlers:
Experts recommend reading to toddlers as often as possible, striving for at least one scheduled reading time each day. Choosing regular times to read (especially before naps and bedtime) helps kids learn to sit with a book and relax. But you can read anytime your child seems in the mood.
If your toddler will let you, hold him or her in your lap when you read. It's a great spot for:
- helping kids feel safe, happy, and relaxed
- giving undivided attention
- showing new things
- inviting participation
Here are some additional reading tips:
- Read whatever books your toddler asks for, even if it's the same book every night for weeks and weeks (and weeks and weeks).
- Read slowly enough for your toddler to understand.
- Read expressively, using different voices for different characters and raising or lowering your voice as appropriate.
- Use puppets, finger plays (like the "Itsy Bitsy Spider"), or props while you read.
- Encourage your toddler to clap or sing when you read rhythmic, sing-song books.
- Talk about the illustrations. Point to items and name them. Then ask your child to name them with you and offer enthusiastic praise.
- Ask open-ended questions — "Why do you think the lion is going into the woods? What do you think will happen next?" This encourages your child to think about the story and to ask questions.
- Substitute your child's name for the name of a character in the book.
- Have fun! Show your child that reading is enjoyable.