Early reading helps toddlers to build creativity, critical thinking, vocabulary, language, communication skills and even empathy for other people, cultures and experience. Getting your child reading can be a challenge, but it’s one that you’re not alone in facing. Learn these tips for improving a toddler’s reading skills in order to get the most out of bedtime stories for children!
Bedtime Stories for Children: Baby Steps
Yes, it’s a cute analogy, but improving your toddler’s early reading skills really is a matter of baby steps. There won’t be a concrete first signal that it’s time to start teaching your child to read. This ability will develop naturally as you work with them during reading time. They will develop the brain and nerve connections that allow them to put together words and phrases. You need to prepare them step by step.
Access to Books
There’s a truism that play is the job of a child. It’s how they learn and explore the world around them. Make books part of that exploring. Put books with large, colorful words and pictures in their play area and encourage them to explore the books that are there.
When your child looks at books, associate the pictures and words with things they know. Do you have a cat? When the child looks at a book like The Cat in the Hat, ask them if that cat is as bad as yours. Make a game of it!
Use It to Bond
Children want and need to bond with their parents. Take time every day to sit with your child and read a book or two. Bedtime stories for children are a great way to do this. Show them the pictures as you read to them and explain how the picture relates to the words. Make it an enjoyable time of sharing.
Pick the Right Books
Pay attention to the interests your child gravitates towards, and choose early books that suit those interests. Remember that kids love bright colors, big images and textures. Pop-up books and books with textured pages to touch are great options.
Rhyme and Rhythm
Kids naturally attach to sing-song turns of phrase like Mother Goose rhymes and other poetry. Doctor Seuss is so successful because he was a master of these turns of phrase. Kids are great at memorizing. Using books with meter, rhyme and rhythm helps them create mnemonic devices that will aid them in reading later.
Get some alphabet flash cards, or make your own with construction paper and markers. Make it a game of showing a letter and having the child make words that start with that letter: “A for apple,” for example. Mix up letters, words and colors, and have fun building your child’s vocabulary.
Of course, hand-in-hand with pictures go cartoons—what child doesn’t love animation and interaction? Try an interactive ebook like one of our free offerings, and get started today!