Monday, January 07, 2008

Reading to Your Toddler

Reading is one of the most important skills your child will learn. It's a skill that most of us use each and every day. Getting your toddler interested in reading will make her more excited about learning how to read when the time comes.

When to Read

Bedtime is one of the most popular times for parents to read to their children. Listening to a story is a great way for your toddler to wind down from a busy day. It also gives you a chance to bond with her in a special way. Some toddlers also like for their mom or dad to read to them before a nap.

Sleep time isn't the only time you should read to your child, though. You could set aside a time in the morning or afternoon to read a book. If your toddler asks you to read to her at other times, do so if possible. There's no such thing as reading to a child too much.

Many libraries have story time once or twice a week. Taking your child to these readings can pique her interest in reading. Experienced storytellers have a knack for making stories exciting, and seeing all of the other kids enjoying the story will make a positive impression.

Making Reading More Fun

You don't have to be a professional storyteller to make reading fun. The one-on-one attention you give your toddler when reading to her is very valuable. It allows opportunities for interaction that she doesn't get elsewhere.

When reading to your toddler, use different voices for different characters. You could also get Dad, Grandma, or Big Brother in on the act and have them do the voice for one of the characters. Use finger puppets or props. Anything you can do to get your toddler excited about story time is great.

Let your toddler help you turn the pages. Point out objects in the pictures and ask her what they are, or ask her to find specific objects. Ask her what she thinks will happen next, or what she thinks of the characters. Things like this will get her involved, and that's one of the most important things you can do to instill a love of reading.

If Your Toddler Won't Sit Still

Some children, especially very young ones, do not have the attention span required to sit through an entire story. If this is the case with your child, don't push her. Read as long as she will listen, and save the rest of the story for later.

Some children like to play with toys or roam around the room while being read to. If your child does this, it doesn't necessarily mean that she's not listening. If she's being fairly quiet, she probably is.

Reading to your toddler gives the two of you quality time together. Making things fun and interactive will keep her interested in the written word. This interest will lay the foundation for a lifelong love of reading.

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