Toddler Books: 4 Tips for Ultimate Success
Books … They are one of the best things for your toddler's development. There, you will find the simplicity and magic of a moment, cuddled up together. Books also support complex brain development, which occurs during toddlerhood. Books are one of the easiest (free rentals through any library!) ways to help your child learn and grow.
Google the phrase “books for toddlers,” and you'll get over six million results.
So, how do you choose the best books for your toddler?
- Start with their interests. Begin with books that are relevant to their life and/or ones they show an active interest in. From Elmo, to cars, to Dora, to butterflies, your local library shelf is bound to have a book that appeals to your child's loves or curiosities. Books are also a great way to introduce the new and unknown (i.e. doctor's visits, a first haircut, plane ride, holiday meanings, etc.). When picking books, keep in mind where your child is at in life, what is of interest to him, or other events that may be happening.
- Choose appropriately. When it comes to length of text and illustrations, be sure to keep in mind where your child is at developmentally. Younger toddler books (chunky board books) may start out with only a few words per page, with bright, colorful pictures. As a toddler's ability to stay engaged in a task grows, so will her ability to stay engaged in storylines. Older toddler books may include several characters and a paragraph or two per page. If you find your child losing interest in a story, re-evaluate the selections you have made. Are they too long? Too short? Is there an interactive component to the book (i.e. toddlers love the surprise of books with flaps that include additional pictures)?
- Get active. Toddlers are natural movers and shakers (think about all the gross motor skills – i.e. walking, climbing, etc. – they are developing). Look for books that embrace their wiggles. Yes, reading books can be calming and cuddly, but it can also be an active experience for both you and your toddler. Many children's fingerplays (i.e. “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”) have been made into wonderfully interactive books that you and your child can not only read, but can dance along to.
- Read. Repeat. Toddlers thrive on routines and predictable patterns. Some of the best books (that will most likely become their favorites as well) will include a simple statement, sound, or pattern that your toddler will soon pick up on. Find books that will give your toddler the quick opportunities to play along. Support your toddler in helping “read” the book too. Don't be surprised when your child says “again” (and again, and again, and again) when it comes to their favorite books. Enjoy the moment.
Still not sure where to start? Here are five best bets for books to enjoy with your toddler:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman
Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins and Eric Gurney
Richard Scarry's Cars & Trucks from A to Z by Richard Scarry