Reading to Your Child

Reading with your toddler has so many benefits. It can help his developing language skills, encourage his curiosity about the world and provide an excellent opportunity for the two of you to spend some quality time together. But don’t get discouraged if your toddler isn’t reading The Canterbury Tales by the time he’s two – very few do.

Language Skills
While the point of reading with your toddler is to foster a lifelong love of books, you can help give your child a one up with their language ability by reading to her often. While the emphasis should be on making reading enjoyable, following the text that you’re reading with your finger can help her make the connection between spoken and written words.

Aiding your toddler’s language skills doesn’t have to be limited to books. When you’re out in the car, point out street signs to him. When you think he knows them, you can make car rides more fun by making a game out of identifying street signs.

Another fun game that can help your toddler learn how to read can also help make your trips to the grocery store smoother. Keep the labels from products that you often buy, like soup and juice. Next time you’re at the supermarket, give your toddler the labels and ask her to find the matching product. You get a handy helper and she unwittingly learns!

As much as you may want your toddler to be reading, don’t force the skill. Rather than nurturing his learning, you may actually be fostering hatred towards the activity. And if he despises reading, there’s little hope of enticing him later on. However, if he starts asking you about words and letters, then don’t hesitate to encourage his reading. Just make sure he takes the lead in the process.

Reading With You
A child won’t start to read on her own until a love of books has been established and reading with you is a great way to start that love. There are some great tips to help you inspire your child to love reading. Crawling onto your lap or snuggling down together at bedtime to read a book is one way your toddler loves to bond with you. The cozy, comforting environment that is created when the two of you read together helps her associate reading with pleasant feelings and allows her to enjoy the experience of reading all the more.

Establishing a daily reading schedule can help your toddler look forward to his stories and bonding with you regularly. Reading a bedtime story is one of the most common reading routines families have. But there’s no reason there can’t also be a bath time story or a home from work story as well.

When you go to buy books for your toddler, pick out ones that involve her interests. But don’t be afraid to buy a few that may not be her top picks. You never know, maybe the book will actually become one of her new favorites. There’s also no harm in reading her the occasional excerpt from The Economist. She may not understand it, but maybe you will have piqued her interest enough to get her wanting more.