Reading is such an important skill for life and needs to be introduced to young children in a positive way. It can be somewhat overwhelming when selecting books for either your personal library or as a gift for another child in your life.
Here are some simple ways to find good books that your toddler will LOVE.
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Look at the Pictures
Chances are your toddler can’t read yet so what do you think they are most interested in? The pictures! Pick books that have beautiful engaging pictures.
At times you may find your toddler is too busy to actually sit and read with you but you can modify the length of the story by using the pictures to tell it. A book with great pictures is also perfect when your little one has some time to read independently.
Focus on Their Interests
If you want a book that will engage your child, then look for one that includes something they are interested in already. If you think about, how many times do you buy or check out a book at the library at random? I do it here and there, but most of the time I choose something I am interested and want to learn more about.
The same goes for your toddler. For example, my son LOVES dinosaurs. When we read dinosaur books he is more engaged than if I were to choose a book about sheep. If you are working on a concept that you want to teach through a book then see if you can find one that fits their interest area.
Here are some examples of great books by interests:
National Geographic Kids Look and Learn: Bugs ( Love the real pictures in this book!)
Old MacDonald’s Farm (Poke-A-Dot) This one is great for fine motor practice!
Toddler attention spans are short, so don’t expect them to sit for 15 minutes at a time and read with you (although some children may do that.) Pick books that you can read in just a couple of minutes. With that said don’t not get a book because it is too long. If it has great pictures then talk about those instead of reading the entire story. Keep reading a positive experience. Try not to get frustrated when your toddler doesn’t want to finish the story.
Stick to board books if you are worried about your child wrecking your books. These books are durable and can last a long time. If you do choose regular books teach your child how to be gentle with them and model that for them. Until they truly understand how to handle regular books, don’t leave them alone with any you don’t want shredded!
Magazines are also a great option to encourage early literacy skills (these ones would work well.) They are a different feel and style then books and provides a completely different experience. Once your child is done “reading” it you can re-purpose it for crafts or scissor practice.
If you have a couple of books that you think your toddler would like, let them make the final decision. Hold up both books and simply ask them which one they want. We spend a lot of our day telling toddlers what to do so it is nice to let them make decisions when possible. Choices are also WONDERFUL for language development.
What is the book about and what will your toddler learn from it? You don’t always have to pick out books that will teach educational concepts but books can be a great tool if you need to teach your toddler about something. For example, if a holiday is coming up choose a book that tells about it. If you are potty training then grab a book about potty training. Take advantage of reading time together to teach your toddler something new. Here are some great ideas of concept books to get you started!
Little Dinos Don’t Hit (We love this one at my house!)
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