Entice Your Toddler into the World of Reading

Joan Brennan is one of our Kidlutions Solutions for Kids Seal of Approval winners for her Reading Focus Card (Patent 7,565,759).  She has been more than generous in sharing some wonderful tips to help your toddlers catch the reading bug.  She is a champion for reading for all kids. You might also enjoy her previous guest post, Help Your Kids Avoid Summer Brain Drain.

Entice Your Toddler into the World of Reading

Joan M. Brennan

It‘s no secret that today’s parents are busy.  They have much on their plates, and that may be an understatement!  At the same time, these same, wise parents know that it’s important to take time to encourage reading with their families and in their homes, even when children are very young.  After all, the ability to read well is one of the cornerstones of success throughout life.  So, what can parents DO to promote good reading and the potential to read well—for life?

As a teacher and parent of 4 sons, I can say that it may take a few minutes each day and a bit of creative thinking on the parents’ part to make this possible.  Parents can do some specific things---early and often---to establish and maintain a home environment that promotes good reading, increasing a child’s opportunities for success, both with reading and in life.

6 Expert Tips

Here are just a few things you as parents (and grandparents!) can do early to help your young child grow to become a life-long reader: 

1.  Read aloud daily to your child—early and often.  You’ll find that 15 minutes can be gone in a flash when you and your child are absorbed reading a great story together.

2.  Once you’ve “stoked the fires” of reading through your early read-alouds, try introducing your little one to the wonderful world of your local library.  Visit often and allow your child to respect books and choose those that interest her, with your guidance, of course. 

3. Place those chosen library books and others in every room of your home so that they will always be accessible.  Baskets and boxes full of books and other reading material nestled next to chairs and sofas are inviting and can offer much variety to very young and experienced readers alike.

4. During and after the reading of a story, talk about what was read.  Ask your child open-ended questions about the plot or characters in the selection:
  • What do you think will happen next?
  • How would you end this story?
  • What else could that character have done (with his “problem”)?

5.  If possible, involve your youngster in creating age-appropriate expressions of the story.  Drawing or coloring a scene from that story can include the main character or an important part of the plot.  This is a good strategy for visual learners who love to draw. 

6.  Ask your child to pretend he is the main character.  Interview him as that character with microphone in hand, creating an audio recording of the exchange of questions/answers.  This is a great approach for young, auditory learners.  Children are often intrigued and surprised to hear the re-play of their own voices for the first time.
Little Steps Make a Big Difference

These few strategies are just a start when it comes to ideas for providing a home environment that promotes life-long reading.  If you incorporate just one or two ideas into your busy days, you’ll experience more quality time together, creating wonderful memories and building an even stronger parent-child relationship.  You’ll also be setting the stage for your young child’s future reading success—for life!
So, Happy Reading—together!
                                                                       ---Joan M. Brennan


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