Sitting down with my darling Sophie before her nap, and reading her a book is one of my favorite times of the day. There is something so rewarding about watching her learn to identify new pictures or say new words. Reading books with toddlers is a great way to help expand their vocabulary, especially if you follow a few simple guidelines. In the video below we are reading “Polar Bear, Polar Bear” by Bill Martin Jr. & Eric Carle. I love this book because it is so repetitive. Sophie is able to anticipate what happens next which allows her to participate in the story telling.
When reading with your toddler:
- Follow your child’s lead. Allow them to pick the book. Then remember you don’t have to read every page in the book or every word on the page. The important thing is to focus on what is interesting to your toddler while reading.
- Label the pictures.
- Ask questions like, “Where is the hippo?” Or for older children ask more open ended questions like, “What do you think will happen next?”
- Read slowly and pause frequently to see if your child can finish the sentence you are reading.
- When your child labels a picture incorrectly, for example she says pig for dog, simply say dog and point to the picture again rather than saying, “No, that’s not a pig.” This allows them to learn the correct name for the word with out feeling bad about their language attempt.
- Read a variety of books! Repetitive books, books about colors, numbers, letters, books about everyday objects, animals, food… whatever you and your child love!
- Read regularly! Reading regularly gives you an opportunity to focus on new vocabulary, check for comprehension, teach new concepts and most of all bond with your little ones!
- Make it fun!
- There is no question that reading with your kids frequently definitely has a positive impact on their language development!
Some of my favorite books include:
“Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin, Eric Carle
“Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What do you Hear” by Bill Martin, Eric Carle
“Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?” by Dr. Seuss
“My First Word Board Book,” by DK Publishing
“The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” by Eric Carle
“Goodnight Blue,” by Angela C. Santomero
“Goodnight Moon,” by Margaret Wise Brown
“Guess How Much I Love You,” by Sam McBratney
“My First Baby Signs,” by Linda Acredolo, Susan Goodwyn
Here are some other sites that offer suggestions for more great reading: