Read to your Toddler
A burst of research on brain activity in the past few years is giving us a whole new understanding of how the brain develops and the crucial role of early language experiences, including reading. Toddlers love the opportunity to practice their developing language skills. Reading to your toddler and asking questions about the illustrations, setting and characters helps develop the early literacy skills important to their developing brain.
Here’s what we know:
Toddlers learn about nine new words a day. Children who are read to and spoken to often develop larger vocabularies and can become better readers.
Nearly 50% of a child’s learning occurs in the first five years of life.
Reading with your toddler is the best way to prepare your child to learn to read.
Help your toddler:
- Read a variety of books to your toddler. Alphabet books, rhyming books, books about animals and about children their age are popular with toddlers.
- Read it again and again and again! Your toddler will know their favorite books and ask for them by name. Their brains are “wired” to learn best through repetition.
- Talk to your toddler as you read the book – or take turns “reading” by letting your child tell you the story from the pictures. Give your child plenty of time to focus on the pages that are interesting to him.
- Don’t worry if your child skips pages or only wants to look at and talk about the pictures. What is most important is that you and your child enjoy your time exploring books together.
- Take time to regularly point out print to your toddler and make connections between letters and sounds or things in their world – such as “D is for Duck”.
- Get your toddler talking! Engage in creative play using pretend phone conversations or puppets.