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How to Read with your Child at Every Age

Reading with your toddler is a great way to bond and help build language and literacy skills. With you, your toddler, and a book, you both can go on magical reading adventures!

Family of four reading together on couch
Tips for reading with your toddler:
  • Read the same stories over and over again so your toddler can start making connections between words and pictures. You’ll soon notice that your child will start to remember words and pictures.  

  • Read books that have predictable patterns and repeated words. This helps your toddler engage with the book and know what is coming next.   

  • Encourage your toddler to choose the book. As you read, have your child hold the book and turn the pages.

  • Ask your toddler questions about what you are reading. For example, you can ask your child to name what’s in the picture, or guess what will happen next.

  • Change your voice to match different characters or the action that’s taking place in the story. Don’t be afraid to be silly! Your toddler will love it and get silly too.

  • Your toddler may or may not stay in your lap or seated during the whole story – and that’s okay! Toddlers are often still engaged in the story but simply need to get up and move. Keep reading! The sound of your reading voice still counts, even if your toddler seems a little distracted.

  • Make reading a part of your daily routine: read or tell stories at breakfast, before naps, and at bath time.

  • Don’t have a book to read? No problem. Making up and sharing stories is as beneficial as reading, and your toddler will love it just the same.

Parent Tip: Toddlers often have a hard time sitting still for an entire story. To keep your child engaged, ask her to act like a character from the book. For example, if your story is about a bear, ask your toddler to crawl around the room, like a bear, while you read!

First 5 California
Contributed by:
First 5 California
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