It is quite another thing to teach your child to love
reading. While most experts agree that teaching a child
to read - to recognize letters and sound out words and
string words into sentences - is a process best left
until the child is ready, teaching a child to love reading
is a process that can start long before he or she knows
an 'A' from a 'Z'.
Choose books with large, clear, bright, realistic but
cheerful illustrations with short, simple text. Though
most toddlers prefer rhyming books, now is a good time
to start introducing some very simple stories in prose.
Heavy board books with spiral bindings are ideal for
your toddler to 'read' alone. Skip cloth books and vinyl
Many toddlers do little but squirm the first few times
you read to him but persistence pays off. Establish
a regular reading time at least once a day (best times
are after bath and before bed time). Even if it lasts
just a few pages, and even if your toddler seems more
interested in puttering with a new toy or climbing on
and off the bed, story time will ultimately become a
ritual. Never force your toddler to pay attention to
a story while you are reading. This will make reading
more of a chore than a pleasure.
No one likes to listen to a monotone. To a toddler who
is just picking up nuances of language, an expressive
reading style makes listening not only more enjoyable
but also more comprehensible.
Toddlers love to hear the same story over and over again;
it is incredibly satisfying to young ears to hear the
familiar. Especially if the text is in rhyme, you may
be surprised to find after a while that your toddler
has memorized some of it.
Short books and short reading sessions are best with
toddlers who cannot sit still. Go from page to page
and idea to idea quickly to keep restlessness from setting
in. Be ready to end story time after just a few minutes,
Children who come to associate reading with the cozy
comfort of being curled up on your lap almost always
enjoy reading books later on.
Be a good example.
Children of readers are much more likely to end up readers
themselves. Try to set time aside each day for your
reading. Make sure your toddler sees you reading at
least occasionally if you don't like reading or have
no time for it. Make reading material a fixture in your
home. Minimize the amount of television that is watched
by your toddler and by you. Studies have shown that
families who watch less, read more.