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Tips for Reading to Infants and Toddlers

Are you wondering how to engage your child’s brain as you read with her?
Try these tricks and your child will be begging for more books!

  • Snuggle with your child with her favorite blanket or toys as you read.
  • Read with expression using different voices for different characters.
  • Emphasize rhythms and rhymes in stories. Give your toddler opportunities to repeat rhyming phrases.
  • Use pictures to build vocabulary by pointing to things and naming them and naming colors, too.
  • Use pictures to develop speaking vocabulary by talking about what is shown.
  • Encourage your child to repeat what you say or comment on it.
  • Encourage your child to ask questions. Provide models of interesting questions and examples of possible answers. “I wonder what is going to happen next? I think the rabbit will get lost because he is not paying attention to where he is going. What do you think?”
  • Look for books that are about things that interest your toddler. For example, does your child like cars, insects, or animals?
  • Make reading a habit before bedtime, after lunch, or after naptime.
  • Give your child a chance to choose his own books for reading. If your child chooses a book that is too long to hold his attention, read some and skip some, discussing the pictures and how they relate to the story.
  • Read stories again and again. Your toddler enjoys repetition and it helps her become familiar with the way stories are organized.

From Reading Matters, National Education Association.