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Making Reading with Toddlers Fun
By Editor,

Reading with toddlers requires a slightly different skill set than reading to babies. After all, toddlers have out grown their fascination with eating their books and hopefully have developed a longer attention span than when they were babies. They can now begin to absorb and enjoy the story lines along with the colorful pictures that they have always liked to see. This provides parents with the opportunity to take their children to a whole new level of adventure with books. Below are some ideas that can help making reading a fun experience for both you and your toddler.

  • Be sure to select a book that is age and content appropriate for your young child.Every child has his or her level of development--only you know your child best. If a book is over your child's head, no matter how great this book is, shelf it until your child is ready to appreciate it. It is no fun for anyone to read an interesting book to an uninterested child.

  • Make your child a part of the story!Use your child's name instead of the main character's when reading the book. Instead of “Everybody loves the little gorilla”, make it “Everybody loves Billy” or “Everybody loves Annie.” Incorporate family members in your story too. Instead of “grandma loves him,” and “his aunts and uncles love him,” make it “Nana loves Annie,” and “Uncle John and Auntie Mary love Annie.” Let your child be the little caterpillar; the beautiful flower. You child will enjoy the books more since he is on the center stage of all his books.

  • Don't forget the action.It is great fun to act out certain scenes in a story. As you read “Here come clown feet” squeeze your child's little nose and make a clown sound. And when you read “Here come pig feet” push your nose up and say “Oink, oink.” When you find ways to act out the silly scenes, you and your child will giggle through the favorite scenes of your books over and over again.

  • Repeat and explain.Now that your child can appreciate the meaning behind the stories, make sure you help your child understand the stories during your reading times. If some of the lines or vocabulary might be new to your child, be sure to take the time to explain what was said in the book using terms and words your child can understand.

  • Animate your reading voice!Children love high pitched sounds. While it is important to read clearly and slowly, your child will love to hear your special sound effects, your special Papa Bear voice and Little Bear voice. This will further engage your child's interest in a book.

  • Get your child to “read” to you.Once a favorite book has been read over and over again, give your child a chance to “read” it to you. Don't be surprised if the story line is a tenth of what it used to be or even completely new to you. You can point to pictures and ask questions to help your child along, and always encourage and enjoy the story however your child wants to tell it to you. Whether she can really read it or not, your child will have a big smile on her face and be beaming with pride that she can read.

Reading together provides a wonderful way for parents to bond with their children--make it fun too!
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