Why reading with your toddler is important
Sharing stories, talking and singing everyday helps your child’s development. You’re getting your child familiar with sounds, words, language and, eventually, the value and joy of books. This all builds your child’s early literacy skills and helps him go on to read successfully later in life.
Reading stories also stimulates your child’s imagination and helps her learn about the world around her. It’s a great time for you to bond with your child and share time together too.
Sharing books with your toddler
At this age and stage, reading with your child is all about having fun with books and spending special time together. Here are some tips that can help you and your budding reader make the most of book time:
- Help your child choose a book, then ask him to hold the book and turn the pages.
- Get your child to fill in the words in a story she knows. Also try pausing and letting her finish sentences for you.
- Ask your toddler to name what he sees in the pictures.
- Talk with your toddler about the sounds animals make.
- Sing nursery rhymes and fun songs together.
These general tips are helpful for reading and storytelling with most young children:
- Make a routine, and try to share at least one book every day.
- Turn off the TV or radio, and find a quiet space to read so your child can focus and listen to your voice.
- Hold your child close or on your knee while you read so she can see your face and the book.
- Try out funny noises and sounds – play and have fun!
- Involve your child in the reading by encouraging talk about the pictures, and by repeating familiar words or passages.
- Visit your local library – it’s free to join and borrow. The staff there might be able to recommend books for you and your child to enjoy.
- If he wants to, let your child choose the books. He might have favourite authors and illustrators.
- Be prepared to read your child’s favourite books over and over again!
What to read with your toddler
There are so many books to choose from that it can be hard to know where to start. As a broad rule, young children often enjoy books that have good rhyme, rhythm and repetition – and these qualities can help children learn.
Toddlers might especially enjoy:
- books with animals and animal noises
- books about a favourite topic, such as cars, trucks, fairies, princesses or trains
- books about playtime that relate to their experiences
- lift-the-flap and pop-up books – at this age, children can have fun with books with moveable pieces.
Here are some great books for toddlers:
Crocodile Beat by Gail Jorgensen and Patricia Mullins
On Your Potty by Virginia Miller
Rumble In The Jungle Pop-up Book by Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz
Time For Bed by Mem Fox and Jane Dyer
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Wheels on the Bus by Penny Dann
What Colour Are Your Knickers by Sam Lloyd
- The Whose… series by Jeanette Rowe (this includes Whose Baby? and Whose Nose?).
For more story ideas, you could check out our storytelling videos
Let storyteller Anne E. Stewart introduce you and your child to ‘Mook
Mook the Owl’, ‘The Crocodile’, ‘The Old Lady and The Mosquito’ and ‘How
the Years were Named for Animals’.