January 16, 2019

Ten Tips for Reading with Toddlers

I used to worry a little bit about building a reading habit for my baby. I read and heard many times that you should start reading to your baby while pregnant, and every day after they're born to help them discover a love for reading. I had a little bit of a rough start and had some mum guilt festering below the surface, but thankfully, my toddler loves to read!

  1. Picture books! I think everyone loves a good picture book, but maybe not as much as toddlers. Not only do good picture books with bright colors catch their attention, they also help you introduce new words/objects/animals to your child. 
  2. Make funny faces and sounds while reading aloud. You don't have to read your toddler's books word for word. First of all, they're probably more interested in how you're reading than the actual words. So make it fun for them! For instance, while reading a story with animals in them, make the animal sounds! 
  3. Make it two-sided. Toddlers like to be engaged, so when it's time to read, get them actively involved by having them mimic your words or sounds. You'll be surprised at how quickly they learn! I just about fell off the sofa when my daughter repeated different colors the very first time I thought to try it out. 
  4. Keep books where toddlers can reach them. My daughter has books that she can grab easily on the bottom shelf of her diaper table in her nursery; we also have books in a little book shelf in the living room; and I carry some books in a box in my car. Since the books are within eyesight and easy to reach, it's on her mind that she enjoys reading and sometimes I don't even have to make an effort to get her to read. 
  5. Cozy up! Make reading time more enjoyable by making the atmosphere nice and cozy. If you're home with your toddler, instead of watching TV for hours on end, take a few minutes to snuggle and cuddle with them while reading a book. It makes for great quality time spent!
  6. Try Sing-Along Books. I don't necessarily mean books that have those annoying high-pitched tunes embedded in them. Books that include nursery rhymes that your toddler enjoys will keep them more focused and even more engaged. You can choose to read the words as usual, but I bet your toddler will have more fun if you sing the words.
  7. Follow your toddler's lead. When it's time to read, instead of picking a book, tell your toddler to pick out any one they like. You can/should also let them turn the pages if they want to. Remember, the goal is getting your child to read, not reading in order at this phase. 
  8. Read, Repeat, Read, Repeat. Chances are that if your toddler enjoys a particular book, you're going to read it 10 times back-to-back. While it may get boring to you, relish the fact that your toddler enjoys reading time! Find ways to creatively deliver the story (see Tip 2).
  9. Help from Daycare. If your toddler is in daycare, ask their teachers what books they're reading - and which ones your child likes to read the most! Add those books to your library at home for more fun reading time.
  10. Help from your local Library. If you have a local library and time to spare, take your toddler there to borrow new books. Some library systems host Story Time events for babies and up, and it usually is a fun time for both baby and parents/caretakers (you get to meet other parents and maybe make new friends). If you go often enough, you could even win free books. Just check out your local library and ask what resources they have for you and your toddler. 

Check out this video of an impromptu reading session with my toddler, Little Miss Cocoa. She's 18 months old now and LOVES to read! She randomly grabs books, bringing them to any trusted adult to read to her at any time.


  1. That one about putting the books within easy reach is a winner. My 15 month old now brings me his favorite book when I ask him to. My 3 year old climbs the chair in his room to bring his favorite books from the shelf!

    1. Sweet! Cocoa has all her books within her reach, and sometimes it's an endless stream of books to read!

  2. Girl, I didn't do any reading during pregnancy oh! It was the plan, but it didn't happen. Lol. I didn't even know that keeping the books within Ada Verastic's reach was helpful, but that makes sense. She always grabs her book. She even has a 5-minute bedtime bible stories book which she calls "The Jesus Book"

    1. Awwww, I love her, she's so cute!!! Cocoa likes to grab her books with Bible stories in them, but she's more interested in the drawings of children on the covers and inside the pages.


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