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Parents & Families

Raising a Reader – Toddlers: 1-2 Years

What to Expect

Soft vinyl and board books are great for toddlers. Books need to be tough for toddlers to explore and to play with.
A toddler may appreciate a book by:
  • Putting it in his mouth, chewing and drooling on it
  • Pushing it across the floor
  • Sitting on it 
  • Shaking or throwing it
  • Banging two books together
  • Patting the pages
  • Reading to toys
  • Choosing a favorite book
  • Insisting that someone read it now
Toddlers who spend time with books will:
  • Point out objects in a book when asked
  • Make sounds to match the pictures
  • Sometimes they ask you, “What’s that?”
A time and a place for books? Always, everywhere! 
Your toddler can hold a book and turn the pages. Looking at pictures on her own is good stimulation for her brain.
Let her play with books. She is more likely to enjoy reading later if she thinks of books as toys. A positive attitude about books will help when she starts school.
Where can toddlers play with books? In the car or on the bus, rolling along in the stroller or grocery cart, in the high chair, on the floor or in the tub. When are books calming? At drop-off time at child care and quiet time before bed.
Books open minds.
Visit the library. Bring home books about your toddler’s favorite things: trucks, dinosaurs, dolls, baby animals or machines. Use picture books to teach names, colors and numbers.
Toddlers enjoy books about children. They like to know there are others “just like me.” Other children brush their teeth, take naps and go to the grocery store.  Stories about children help toddlers connect the written word with real life.
Make reading fun!
  • Use different voices for characters. 
  • Make sounds that go with pictures. 
  • Ask questions. What is that? Who? Where? What color? 
Books are great conversation starters. You may have trouble understanding your toddler at first, but it is a start.
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