Reading to your Toddler

We all know that reading is good for our children, but did you know that even newborns can benefit from hearing you read? The benefits are magnified as your child gets older, and at the toddler stage your child is at their most receptive to new words and ideas. So boost their vocabulary, teach them about the world around them and get them interested in books in general by making the most of your reading times together.

What to Read

Don?t worry so much about the type of book you choose ? if it is age appropriate then give it a go. Let your child choose books whenever possible but give others a chance too. Joining the library can be the best way to provide your child with a range of new and interesting books. They can choose whatever they want without risk ? if they don?t like it, there is no loss, just return it and re-select. You could also swap books with other children to get some more variation (parents permitting of course!) or scour local charity shops for good second hand choices.

How to Read

Reading to a child is enjoyable, and there are ways you can alter how you read, or things you can bear in mind, in order to make it more enjoyable for your child. Not only will your child be more interested in the story, but the way you read can also help their understanding of the words. A big part of this is where you place your emphasis. One example of this is when you emphasis adjectives in order to better communicate the importance of the words to your child. So rather than reading, ?the large bear ran through the deep, dark forest?, try ?the large bear ran through the deep, dark forest?. You can also make the story more enjoyable by adding in dramatic pauses at key parts of the story.

Get Your Child Involved

If your child stops you to ask a question, answer it and gently steer back to the story. Children with a shorter attention span will be kept interested if you ask them lots of questions during the story. You can get your young child thinking about the consequences of things that happen in the story by asking what they think will happen next. Chat about the emotion in the story to get your child talking about their own emotions. At the toddler stage they may or may not be able to articulate or understand emotional responses, so pointing out how characters feel will help them to make the necessary connections. You can even get your child acting out parts of the story ? so, for example, when the characters tip-toe, ask your child can they tip-toe, or when an animal appears in the storybook, make the noise of the animal.

Access to Books

Let your child play with or ?read? books alone as well as with you. Make sure they have access to books that they can lift and have a look at whenever they want so that they learn about independence and don?t see books as something they have to sit quietly for. Books should be seen as fun, let your child enjoy them alone, with a parent or with the whole family.