Fostering a love of reading can help set your little one up for academic success. It can also set the stage for a lifetime of enjoyment. But, just how do you teach your toddler to love reading? I have outlined a few tips below.
Take A Trip To The Library
Libraries are a great place to find books. But often times, they are a whole lot more than that. Some libraries have train tables, kitchens sets, and plenty of other toys to play with. They may even have music and instruments. When it comes to reading, they have plenty of books. It’s pretty common for libraries to have “story time” and other group activities for kids as well. Add all this up and it makes libraries a fun destination, which in turn creates a positive association with books and reading.
Make Reading A Part Of Your Routine
Reading to your toddler regularly is a great way to help them develop an affinity for books. Some parents read to their toddlers every night before bed. This can be a great way to wind down after a long day. You might try reading a book or two before nap time as well. Of course, you don’t have to make story time a pre-sleep activity. You might read first thing in the morning, or any other time that works well with your schedule.
Don’t Force It
Even though you might want your child to be exposed to reading, there is no need to force it if they aren’t in the mood. In fact, forcing them to sit through a reading session might even make reading the topic of a power struggle. Some toddlers will dig in their heels and refuse to read if they start to feel like it’s something that you’re trying to force on them. Instead, try to frame reading as a fun activity that they get to do when they want.
Teach Them About Letters and Words, But Don’t Over Do It
When they’re ready, you can start pointing to different letters and even asking them to spell out words. This is a natural way for toddlers to start making the transition from a passive participant in story time to a more active reader. That said, having them spell out each word does slow things down, and might take some of the fun out for them. For that reason, you might just have them try to identify the letters in the book’s title or the first word on each page. The main thing to accomplish for toddlers is to get them hooked on books. There will be plenty of time to polish those literary skills as they get older.
Pick The Right Books
Not all books are created equally. Just because you think a certain book is the best thing since sliced bread, it doesn’t mean that your toddler will agree. Everyone has their own taste, and toddlers are no exception. In order to find some books that your child likes, it’s a good idea to try to expose them to a wide variety. Libraries are the best way to do this without breaking the bank. If you notice that your little one really likes a certain book, try to get some others by the same author (and illustrator, if possible). You might also notice that certain topics make your child’s eyes light up. If they like books about dogs, then by all means, pick out lots and lots of books featuring dogs.
If your toddler develops a love of reading, it may just become a lifelong romance. Reading to your child is also a great way for the two of you to bond. So, take a trip to the library, and get ready to have some fun.
Check out CLiF’s video on reading with pre-school-age kids!
Ryan Howard runs SmartParentAdvice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Ryan writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.