The toddler years, by definition, is when your child reaches 12 months and grows through 36 months of age. Your child is developing cognitive and behavioral skills very rapidly during this time. He will go from “toddling,” or walking unsteadily, to an all-out sprint. He will talk, from pointing, to single words, to complete sentences. He will become more independent (but not too much!), and of course, challenge boundaries in the process.
This is also a time when your toddler’s literacy skills really begin to show themselves, or “emerge” (hence the term, “emergent literacy”). You’ve probably been reading and talking with your child all along, and you likely have noticed a growing interest from your child in reading. This article captures all the beautiful literacy-enriched activities happening before those toddler years.
If you’re even more strategic and intentional during the toddler years, your child will come to love reading at a deeper level.
Every day. Several times a day. Before naptime. Before bedtime. Anytime is a good time to read books.Read to your toddler every day, several times a day, to help them learn to love reading!Click To Tweet
You will get to where you can ask your child to go get a book, and he will know exactly where to go. You will also discover times when you won’t have to ask your child to get a book, and he will either get one and bring it to you, or he will sit down and pretend he is reading all on his own. Also, whenever you put out toys, be sure to add a couple of board books to the mix.
Find books that have big, simple, familiar pictures that you can point to and name. Before long, your child will begin pointing to the image that corresponds with the word. Ask, “Where’s the ____? There’s the ___! Good job!” You will also find eventually your child will make noises, such as an animal or car noises. The familiar question, “What does a cow say” or “What does a dog say” are all geared toward a love for reading.
Put motions to rhymes. Allow touch-and-feel books. Read a book about a kitty, and then when you’re around a kitten, have your child touch the kitten while you repeat the word. Soon, your child will begin associating the word and image with the real thing. When you’re talking about the body, have your child pat his head or stomach, or wiggle his toes.
Every now and again, point to the words on a page (remember, you’re reading fairly simple books with fewer than 10 words per page). Your older toddler will begin to associate the words on the page with the words you read. Your child will also start to understand how we read from left to right and top to bottom.
Ask your child, “Do you want to read a book to me?” You might just be surprised at how much your child can “read,” from a simple sound or mono-syllables to having memorized entire words and knowing when to turn the page.
During this time, a child might want to read the same book over and over again. Enter into your toddler’s world and allow for repetition. Words, phrases, and visual associations are sinking deep into his mind, increasing his ability to read and talk.
At some point during the toddler years, your child will be able to hold a pencil and scribble. Staple some pages together, maybe with each page having an image, and ask your child to write you a story. Other times will occur when your child simply chooses to write a story (hopefully NOT on the wall!). Then, encourage your child to “read” the story he wrote.
Struggling to know which books to choose for your toddler? Here are 5 that won’t disappoint!
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