Reading Is Fundamental
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Lets Read as a Family!

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Advice & Tips:                                                                [back to index] [PDF version]
Tips for Reading Aloud With Toddlers

Read aloud so toddlers can:

  • Continue to associate reading with warm, pleasant feelings while learning about words and language.
  • Expand their listening skills.
  • Build their vocabularies with words they understand and can use.
  • Consider books as fun and valuable play materials.
  • Link pictures and stories in books to the real world.
  • Gain a sense of competence by "mastering" repetitive rhymes and phrases.
  • Begin creating pictures in their minds while listening to stories.
  • Begin understanding print concepts, such as, pictures and print as symbols for real things and that we read words, not pictures.

Choose books that toddlers like:

  • Toddlers are learning to cope with feelings. Look for books with characters handling typical emotions and experiences.
  • Toddlers feel competent when they can participate. Read books with rhymes and predictable words they can remember.
  • Toddlers can pay attention — for a while — if they are interested. Read picture storybooks with brief, simple plots and only a few words per page.
  • Toddlers are curious. Read books about special interests and books about new people, places, and events.
  • Toddlers are increasing their vocabularies and listening skills. Read books a few levels above their current vocabulary that introduce new words and ideas. Also look for books with lots of pictures of things to name.
  • Toddlers are beginning to make sense of concepts such as size, color, shape, and time. Read simple picture-concept books that reinforce their learning.
  • Toddlers are learning self-help skills. Read books about daily routines such as using the toilet, washing hands, and taking a bath.
  • Toddlers are doers. Read books with flaps to lift and textures to feel.

Try these read-aloud tips:

  • Read the same books again and again, if asked. A toddler will let you know when he or she has had enough of a book.
  • Read slowly so the toddler can make sense of what's happening in a story.
  • Offer crayons and paper to occupy the toddler who finds it easier to listen when he or she is busy.
  • Vary your voice to fit the characters and plot.
  • Use puppets and other props related to the story.
  • Repeat interesting words and phrases.
  • Stop often to comment, ask questions, and look closely at the illustrations.
  • Encourage a toddler to join in: turn pages, name things in pictures, make sounds, repeat rhymes and phrases, and think about what might happen next.
  • Talk about the pictures and point out details a toddler might miss.
  • Talk about the book and how it relates to a toddler's real life experiences.





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