Reading with a toddler is an important way to help them develop a love of books and learning. As a parent, reading to your child from a young age can improve their language skills, develop their imagination and curiosity, and enhance their cognitive development. But what if your toddler doesn't seem interested in books? Here are some tips to help encourage your child to be interested in reading:
Choose age-appropriate and engaging books. When it comes to choosing books for toddlers, look for books with simple stories, and colourful illustrations. Avoid books with long stories or that have complex vocabulary. Some great book options for toddlers include lift-the-flap board books, picture books and pop-up books.
Leave books scattered around the house. The more your child sees books, they more they might become interested.
Make reading a regular part of your routine. Set aside a specific time each day for reading, and try to stick to it as much as possible. This can be right before bedtime, or even in the morning before starting your day.
Let your child choose the books they want to read. Giving them the power to choose their own books can help make reading more fun and engaging for them.
Have fun and be animated. Use an exaggerated voice when reading or pointing at pictures.
Use the book as a conversation starter. In addition to reading the words on the page, talk about the pictures and what you see. If your child becomes bored when you read the text don’t worry. Simply try to spark their interest with the pictures instead.
Follow your child's lead when looking at a book. Observe their eye gaze and see what they are interested in. If they are interested in a particular item in a picture, point at it and say the word. This will help them to learn new words. You may find that they begin to point at different items themselves and say the words.
Read a book multiple times if your child wants to. Repetition can help your child learn and remember new words.
Avoid testing your child by asking them “what’s that?”. As parents, we often want to hear our child saying more words but often the more we ask questions, the more reluctant a child can become to talk. Each time you give your child the word, you are helping them learn it and they will likely say it in their own time.
Avoid directly correcting a child’s pronunciation. All children make speech sound errors when they are learning to speak. It is best to indirectly correct them by saying the word correctly in an exaggerated voice. For example a toddler might say “ga” or “car”, and you could say “Car, yes it is a car… car”
By following these tips, you can help your toddler develop their vocabulary and a love of reading. Happy reading!