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Great Books for Toddlers

I just finished reading another well done article in the July 2008, issue of Parents Magazine, by Leslie Garisto Pfaff (see also, Summer Reading Tips). The title is I Love Story Time, The best way to read to your toddler.

Give your 1-year-old a book, and you never know what she’ll do with it: chew on it, bang it on the table, wear it on her head, or – surprise – sit down and start thumbing through it.

In the article there are many useful ideas to encourage reading with your toddler, along with a few interesting facts by some literacy experts. Caroline Blakemore, coauthor of Baby Read-Aloud Basics, had this to say, “Even the most basic children’s books contain three times as many unique words as your child is likely to hear in everyday conversation.” There are so many aspects of language that children learn from listening to us read. And … not only will they be having fun, fostering a love of books at an early age sets children up for a successful academic future.

  • Make time to read everyday. Short intervals usually work best with toddlers.
  • Create a comfortable reading place.
  • Toddlers love routine, so head to the same favorite couch or read before nap/bedtime everyday.
  • Be sure to read books of varying subject matter to keep busy minds interested.
  • Involve the children in choosing their own book from the shelf, even being able to choose from a selection of two books is a great way to help your child feel more excited about story time.
  • If your toddler has a favorite, be prepared to read it over and over. As Leslie Garisto Pfaff says, “Toddlers learn through repetition.” The reward for you as a parent – if you resist the urge to hide the book – will be when your child has memorized the story and starts to finish the sentences before you do.
  • Make sure the text is minimal and simple to hold his/her attention. Anything that rhymes is always a plus!
  • Don’t be afraid to be overly animated, and use different voices for different characters – be careful not to over dramatize sad or potentially scary emotions.
  • Don’t forget to look at the pictures. Be sure to stimulate conversation by asking questions about what they see, have them look for and point to different things.
  • As toddlers are very sensory learners, allow them to touch and be involved with the book as much as possible.

Below is the 10 Great Books for Toddlers list that followed the Parents magazine article:

  1. Are You My Mother: by P.D. Eastman (A.K.A. Dr. Suess)
  2. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?: by Bill Martin Jr.
  3. Boynton’s Greatest Hits: Volume 1 : by Sandra Boynton
  4. Bus Stops: by Taro Gomi
  5. Goodnight Moon: by Margaret Wise Brown
  6. No, David!: by David Shannon
  7. Pat the Bunny: by Dorothy Kunhardt
  8. The Very Hungry Caterpillar: by Eric Carle
  9. Machines at Work: by Byron Barton
  10. Where’s Spot?: by Eric Hill


And a few of my daughter’s favorites:

  1. Goodnight Gorilla: by Peggy Rathman
  2. Dear Zoo: by Rod Campbell
  3. Jamberry: by Bruce Degen
  4. The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear: by Don Wood
  5. Sheep in a Shop: by Nancy E. Shaw
  6. Tumble Bumble: by Felicia Bond


Links:

How to Introduce Baby to Books: an article by Pamela Kramer, for Parents.com.

Tips for reading to infants and toddlers: an article from the National Education Association.

Reading to Babies, Toddlers and Young Children: an article from The Child Literacy Centre (a UK based site).

The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Web Sites for Kids, is a resource devoted to children’s literacy. We publish reviews and book lists of the best books for kids of all ages. We also produce author and illustrator interviews and share literacy based articles that help parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians to grow readers. This article was written and provided by one of TCBR's regular contributors.

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