There are few things more rewarding than seeing your child develop and learn new skills. Reading, and the love of books, when developed at a young age, can provide a child and later an adult with a world of enjoyment simply escaping into those pages, and starting young plays a vital role. Read our article The Importance of Reading.
There are a few simple things you can do to help your toddler develop an understanding of language patterns, how words work and how books work. This is what we call the ‘building blocks’ before reading; once children master this, they can go on to be successful readers. Also, read our article 5 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read.
The first thing to do – which is a non-negotiable really – is to read to them every day! Even if it’s their favourite book day after day, keep reading. You wouldn’t forget to feed your toddler dinner, or bath time, so don’t forget to read, it is just as important.
Secondly; Help them to develop an understanding while reading together; point out pictures that link to the text, ask them what they can see on each page, ‘read’ the story along without using the words – instead letting the pictures tell a story, ask them to tell you what happened in the story once you finish reading etc.
There are a few excellent books for this age group that help to develop patterns in language (and are easy for them to re-tell!).
Look out for the following books on Mumzworld and give your toddler the best start to reading;
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
Dr. Suess’s Book of Animals
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
You might be wondering; ‘why are these books better than others? What makes these books a good choice for my child?’, well, the reasons are simple:
1. They have a repetitive rhyming pattern that helps children to follow the story and build their vocabulary
2. They have lots of pictures that match the words on each page – giving your child a clue to what is going to happen
3. They are a good length – not too long and not too short
4. They are easy for a child to recall and re-tell after hearing it a few times (an excellent and crucial step in the journey towards reading)
5. They help children to learn to play with words and have fun with language
6. They are good conversation and activity starters; perhaps you could go on a bear hunt together, or write a letter to the zoo, do some Gruffalo cooking or pretend to be a giant!
Another fun way to get young children hooked on reading is to show them a range of books and let them choose one that they like the look of; you can even do it from your own home. Open up the ‘Beginning Reader’ section on Mumzworld and look at the pictures of books together and let them choose a book! It could become a weekly treat, a reward, a present for a friend or merely a pleasant surprise.