Tips for Reading with Toddlers

Here are some ways to get the most out of reading Imagination Library books with your toddler:

  • When you read together, cuddle up with your child on your lap. Remember to look at each other as well as the book.
  • Let your child lead. If your child wants to skip pages or read the same story again and again, it’s okay.
  • Ask your child to point out things in the pictures. For instance, ask, “Where is the balloon?” and have your child find it on the page.
  • Ask your child to name things in the pictures and talk about them. Point to the train and ask, “What is this?” Then ask, “What sound does a train make?”
  • Use the pictures to teach new words. Say, “See the trumpet? A trumpet is a loud instrument that makes music.” Then pretend to play the trumpet.
  • Ask questions about the story. “What are the bears doing in this picture?” Pause and then help your child answer. Leave room for your child to make things up.
  • Act out parts of the story. If it says “you laugh and pick it up,” then laugh out loud.
  • Use the story to start a conversation. Say, “It looks like the bears are baking. Remember when we baked cookies? What did we use to make them?”

Here are some ways you can extend your toddler’s learning “on the go”:

  1. Bring books to read while you wait on line at the market or at the doctor’s office.
  2. Talk about books you’ve read when you are at the park or on a walk. “Look! That lady is wearing a hat like the bear in the story we read.”
  3. Use a word or phrase from the story throughout the day.  As you buckle your child into the car seat say, “Only you can make me giggle when you smile.”

*credit The Dollywood Foundation