Five new ways to read books to your toddler

How do parents teach children new language and engage them in reading books?  Books are a wonderful way to hear new vocabulary and associate vocabulary with pictures.  Research has shown that labeling items (both inside and outside of books) helps a child acquire language.  Other studies have shown both age of onset and frequency of reading to infants and toddlers were correlated with differences in the children’s literacy and language outcomes in nonintervention studies (Dunst, Simkus, & Hamby, 2012).

Read below for five easy tips:  

1.        Face your child when reading.  This will help your child see your facial expressions and lips while forming words. 

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2.       Point to pictures of items while reading about the item or word.  If your child points to a picture, attend to this first instead of talking about something else.  This helps children learn that sounds and words are associated with pictures and objects.

3.       Don’t just talk about what the words say on the page!  Point out other pictures in the book and talk about them descriptively (i.e. Look at the little brown dog running).  Ask probing questions like “Why do you think he’s running so fast?” or “He has a sad look on his face.  Why is that?”   If your child can’t answer the questions, you can answer the question for them!

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4.       Be silly!  Over exaggerate your voice and facial expressions as the words/book calls for.

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5.       Read slowly.  Don’t rush through the book.  Take your time so your child can take in all the words and pictures.

Sometimes it can feel silly or monotonous when reading to your child.  Using these suggestions will better engage your child in reading and help them learn new sounds, words and vocabulary.