- Why is it important to read to toddlers?
- How often should parents read to toddlers?
- What age should a toddler start reading?
- How can I make reading fun?
- What are the best toddlers’ reading books?
- What tips can help me with book reading for toddlers?
Delightful stories, new words, exciting worlds with super-fun characters – these are just some of the reasons why reading to toddlers is important, and we didn’t even get to how it helps with cognitive development, forming bonds and kick-starting their imagination.
American children’s author Dr Seuss once famously wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go,” – an ode to our paper-bound pals that rings true with book lovers the world over. And just maybe he was onto something. It has been discovered that the younger parents start reading to toddlers, the more benefits they (both) will reap from this classic pastime.
Read on to discover the core benefits of opening those books for your little ones, and check out some of our favourite pages to pore over.
Why is it important to read to toddlers?
From instilling crucial vocabulary to introducing new sounds, toddlers can develop vital literacy skills if you dive into their favourite books with them.
It’s commonly known that the more you read, the better reader and writer you become. So, if you want your child to be a whizz with pen and paper too, hit the books! 📖
Think back to when you first discovered your favourite book: how did it make you feel? What images did you see in your mind? What did those images tell you about the world? Now consider what it can do for your child; regular reading times allow imaginations to take shape and run free. 😄
Every moment between parent and child is precious, including storytime. Reading to your toddler offers them a chance to relax while you transport their (and your) mind to far-flung lands and wondrous worlds, all the while you are both enjoying special one-on-one time. 🧑🤝🧑
Valuing books and stories
Not only is reading time a prime opportunity for little ones to learn how stories are created and told, but they can also learn to appreciate the importance of books – a priceless value they can hold close and use to their advantage throughout their academic career and beyond. 🌠
Teaching toddlers to read is not the simplest feat and they aren’t the easiest participants when it comes to focusing, but regular reading slots can help mould their concentration skills which can lend a helping hand in adopting disciplined approaches when it comes to studying later. 🏫
From the Expert 🌟
“There is nothing as powerful … as unlocking the ability to read. When that is unlocked, the human being in that child begins to make himself or herself known. Why? Because there is no other species on Earth that can read, except the human being. You can’t separate being able to read well from being able to be fully human. It’s an extraordinary thing.”
“Literacy is transformative to the ultimate degree because reading is transformative for the child. Reading points to the fact that ‘There’s a power in me.’ They’re beginning to speak these words and hear themselves doing it, and they’re understanding that to grasp reading, it must come from within them. The more they use it, the more they can decode that skill and see that reading is what makes your dreams come true.”
- Dr. Oscar J. Underwood Jr., author and award-winning educator, in an interview with IMSE Journal in 2018.
How often should parents read to toddlers?
Regularity is key here; while there are no set-in-stone rules about how often parents should read to their toddlers, it’s advised that story time occurs at least once a day. Not only will this further develop the benefits of reading, but this can also help children learn the importance of routine, especially if reading comes just before bedtime.
What age should a toddler start reading?
According to the education website, Scholastic, the critical ages for reading growth are from 3-5 years old. However, babies and children are harvesting important skills that they’ll use in reading from birth. Therefore, until your toddler is able to read independently, reading to them as often as you can will only serve them in spades for their coming years.
How can I make reading and learning for toddlers fun?
If you’re having an enjoyable time, your tots are much more likely to enjoy themselves too. Here’s how you can make story-time a blast:
- Be silly! Don’t take reading time too seriously or your child may get bored. Make funny voices for the different characters (yes, we mean animal noises too!) and create your own sound effects. Brrrrrm! 🚗
- Got props and puppets at home? Great! Using puppets in play is said to encourage a child’s social skills, motor skills and emotional development. Making your own puppets can also be a fun activity you do together and it’s a great way of using up odd socks! 🧦
- Dress up! Imagine how much they’ll look forward to reading sessions if they know they can dress up as their favourite characters too!
- Choose books that look exciting and with novelty characters. It’s said that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, that’s exactly what you need to do. 😉 Need some book inspiration? You’ve come to just the right place, discover our favourite toddlers’ reading books below…
What are the best toddlers’ reading books?
As parents of toddlers, teaching a two-year-old to read may seem daunting so look to our reading list for simple books that are sure to get them engaged and learning.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Following the food-loving escapades of everyone’s favourite caterpillar, this book is world-loved and has been ever since it was first published in 1969.
Spot the Dog by Eric Hill
You can’t go wrong with the cute canine, Spot. Imagined in various stories and scenarios, there are several books to choose from, each one as fun as the next.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
Designed to help children associate colours with images, this book is bold, fun, and simple – the recipe to success in teaching toddlers to read.
The Whale Who Wanted More by Rachel Bright
Something is missing in Humphrey the whale’s life but he’s not sure what it is. Join him in his mission to find that special object while also gathering undersea treasures along the way…
There’s A Unicorn In Your Book by Tom Fletcher
Blending interactive fun with an important message about friendship, help cheer up this worried unicorn while teaching your toddler to love reading.
Funnybones by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
Originally published in 1980, the capers of these two skeletons have been spanning years. Still as fun as ever, let the Funnybones adventures spill over into story-time.
Dinosaur Sounds by Sam Taplin
Is your little one a dinosaur lover? If so, they’ll love this sound-filled book that explores many types of these prehistoric creatures and comes with ten buttons waiting to be pressed by tiny fingers. 🖐️
Mr Calm by Adam Hargreaves
Who was your favourite Mr. Men character? Or maybe you adored Little Miss? Fifty years since Mr Tickle was first published, we now welcome Mr Calm onto the Mr. Men red carpet. Invite your toddler into literary history, while reminiscing your own childhood reading times too.
Little Miss Brave by Adam Hargreaves
We couldn’t welcome Mr Calm without also introducing you to the latest Little Miss to grace the world-loved collection, could we? Little Miss Brave is a confident and inspiring character who offers her courage to Little Miss Shy in this endearing new release.
First Questions and Answers: What is racism? By Katie Daynes and Jordan Akpojaro
Imagined in a super-cool Lift-the-Flap style, this book answers the questions young children have about racism and is written in a way that gently explains this sensitive topic while also giving adults the language to be able to do so with their young ones.
What tips can help me with book reading for toddlers?
⭐ If you’re not sure when to set aside time for reading, choosing a time before bed is a great way for you both to rest and de-stress after a long day.
⭐ Choose books that your child is interested in: does he like animals? Does she like unicorns? The more engaged they are with what they’re reading, the more likely they are to remember the words and sentences.
⭐ Leave the books in your child’s room, even when it’s not reading time. They might flick through the pages when you’re not there to re-look at words and pictures while learning to read alone.
⭐ Don’t get frustrated when they can’t say or remember the words. Instead, calmly take over and read to them for a while – listening skills are just as important as reading skills. 👂
⭐ If stories aren’t going down too well, opt for reading rhymes and songs which is an excellent way for toddlers to pick up new words and polish their vocal cords…
So, as we can see, the benefits of reading to your toddlers are myriad and we’ve only given you a few! While you may think that it’s a meaningless task because they don’t understand what you’re saying, the magic is happening as words flow into those tiny ears. Just keep going and soon enough, parents reading books to toddlers will lead to toddlers reading books alone.