Friday, April 10, 2009

Reading is so important...

I can't get over how much W enjoys books. We've been reading books to W since we brought him home from the hospital, especially as apart of his bedtime routine. You can definitely tell the difference in W's sleeping habits if we skip a book before bedtime. It's definitely relaxing to both child and parent. W's favorite book by far is, "Goodnight Moon". He's already starting to memorize the book, and if I start a sentence, he usually can finish it for me. We usually read two-three books before bed followed by the grand finale of "Goodnight Moon".

During the day, I have books scattered throughout the house...upstairs in his playroom, his bedroom, living room, and kitchen so he can pick up a book and read if he wants. This morning, we worked on some of his books through the "Hooked on Phonics" series. He really enjoys, "Things that Move" has a bunch of pictures of cars, trucks, airplanes, tractors, etc. I had to finish some housework, so he just sat on the love sac reading his books and flash cards (I have pictures as apart of his photopalooza, I'll be posting later). I just can't express how important reading is...not only does it help with their imagination, but it helps with their verbal communication skills and vocabulary. I've been following these easy steps on "How to Read to a Toddler" located at


There's no sense reading to a child as soon as you step foot in the house, when her excitement is heightened and things haven't settled down. Just before bedtime or and afternoon nap is a much better time to read to a toddler because she's a little calmer and in a mindset that is free from daytime distractions.

Repetitive books and books that rhyme have the rhythm and entertainment factor that other books don't. Not to mention toddlers will be more engaged if they know they can try to anticipate what's coming next. You can also clap to the rhythm of the rhymes to keep her even more engaged and really feeling the beat.

You might not find much interest in an illustration of a duck at a pond, but the child might be fascinated by the vibrancy of the lush greens and the subtlety of the tiny frog hiding in the corner. So if she wants to linger on a certain page for much longer than your patience would like, but don't discourage her intrigue.

Have the toddler sit in your lap while you read to her. Not only does this help her feel safer and more relaxed, it also encourages her to give her undivided attention to the book in front of her and to participate more in the reading.

Instead of just reading the book and flipping through the pages, point to things that you think might capture the toddler's attention as you read. Colors, shapes, objects, characters -- aside from simply keeping her attention, pointing these things out will help the toddler understand that the written words represent things/ideas, which will do wonders for her language skills.

In addition to pointing to things on the pages, ask your child questions about the book, story or images to help her think about what's being read. "How many people can you count on this page?" "What do you think happened to the orange ball?"

Substituting the child's name for the main character's is another fun way to keep the toddler engaged. It's a silly little trick, but it always tickles kids to imagine these stories happening to them and they become more invested in the story as a result.

It might seem a little counterintuitive to give a toddler a toy while you read to her as a way to keep her attention on the book, but some toddlers sit still better when they have their favorite toy or while they're coloring during the reading. That's completely fine! Don't assume she's not listening just because she's not looking at the pages.

Sometimes, even when you try all these techniques, the toddler may still decide it's NOT time to sit down and read. Even if she decides that it's time to run circles in the kitchen instead of finishing the book, keep the book out and in plain view. The toddler may want to come back to it in a few minutes and you can pick up right where you left off!

I really believe W's good verbal communication skills come from the books we read everyday. Now, if only William can teach mommy to get into a good reading habit. It's been months since I've picked up a good book to read...

1 comment:

  1. this is so cool :-) you should check out my friends blog (literacylaunchpad) on my blogroll. She has her own business where she goes to preschools to do early literacy training, and activities. She has great suggestions and book reviews :-) Hope all is well! The new pictures are adorable!