Cultivating an interest in reading that will last from childhood through old age requires that parents start the process early. The sooner children are exposed to the joys of reading, the more likely they are to associate the experience with pleasure and fulfillment. Reading with your children from a young age has also been proven to encourage success with reading skills in the classroom. The challenge often comes for parents when they are faced with the huge variety of books available to them. Many parents start with the books that are familiar to them from their own childhood, but it is a good idea to expand the collection so that your child can have variety and develop their own favorites which they can later share with their children.
Maintaining the attention of your toddler during reading time is much easier when the book allows them to participate in the story through tactile engagement. Textures and sounds make the experience fun and interesting for them each time. Dorothy Kunhardt’s Pat the Bunny has opportunities for peek-a-boo and gazing into mirrors within its pages. The child can actually touch the soft fur of the bunny that takes them through the adventures in the story. The thick binding and cardboard pages also make this a great book. It will be able to stand up to years of story time without falling apart.
Goodnight Moon is one of the best bedtime stories around. It has stood the test of time and remains as a classic. The familiar subject of daily routines such as getting ready for bed allows children to relate to the story. The rhyming text soothes any nervous or fidgety child so that they can relax as they prepare to slip off into their dreams. The story also offers some object recognition as the main character says goodnight to all the objects in the bedroom.
Dr. Suess’s classic, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, is the perfect tale for adopting the “sing-songy” aspect of story time. Reading with this kind of musical tone and intonation assists in engaging the attention of the child. They are able to pick up on concepts of rhythm and sentence structure based on the rhymes that tell the story. The nonsensical characters and situations presented in the story also encourage the imagination. The illustrations assist in engagement by using bold lines and bright, beautiful colors.
Al Perkin delivers a home run with Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. This interactive story featuring the antics of dozens of monkeys who will leave your child’s body moving with the cadence of the text. Drumming monkeys encourage children to join in on the fun as they are instructed to use different body parts to create rhythms. The additional labeling and tactile use of body parts provides further learning experiences. Your child will soon know the names of their most vital limbs, and they will know exactly how to use them.
What Color Is Your Underwear? is the perfect book to introduce to small children during potty training. The story cleverly mixes in the routines of using the bathroom with color recognition. The book is organized in flaps that the child lifts to discover the color of the character’s underwear. The idea of “big kid underwear” is also emphasized throughout the text, preparing your child for the transition away from diapers.
License: Creative Commons
Ellen Turner is a preschool teacher and mother of two who enjoys sharing helpful tips and knowledge with parents. Ellen was thrilled to contribute to Early Childhood Education Degrees, a fabulous resource for people who would like to get the education needed to work with small children and help them get a smart start on learning.