July 17, 2016

Reading With A Toddler

Posted in: Baby

June 17th 2016

What I’m missing most about teaching is reading books with the kids every morning and having wonderful, meaningful discussions about the story afterwards.

In my classroom we would start every morning off with a book and discuss whether the book we just read was a quality book. I remember once purposefully sourcing out a particularly bad book and reading it to the class.

As soon as I finished reading the last word one of my students called out, ‘Now that was NOT a quality book!’ I loved that they had gotten to the point of identifying what makes a quality book.

Quality books, I believe, are one of the most powerful learning resources out there. I could write pages and pages on what can be done with a good book. I am very passionate about this topic.

Books allow you to learn everything from becoming familiar with letter patterns and sounds, new vocabulary, constructing sentences, using grammar correctly, identifying spelling patterns, how the world works, how to behave within it, understanding different people and situations and how to be a compassionate person. Plus a million other things.

Yep, a quality book is immensely powerful.

Every week Thomas and I go on the hunt for quality books. Some weeks it’s in the library, other weeks it’s in bookshops.

While I spend almost no money on toys, all of Thomas’ toys have been gifted or bought from the op shop, dropping a bit of money on books is something I can’t stop doing.

I wrote a post about reading with your baby last year and I thought I’d share how I’m reading with Thomas the Toddler in this post.

I thought I’d also share some fantastic books you might be interested in for your toddler (or if you’re looking to buy a book for a toddler).

Identifying Quality Books

– Buy board books

Toddlers aren’t the best at turning pages without damaging them so most of the books Thomas is engaged with are books printed on thick paperboard. They are more durable and will last much, much longer.

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– Know what to look for

At this age you want to find books that are not word heavy. And the words in the books you read should relate to a toddler’s world. For example books about animals, going to bed, body parts, toys and so on.

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– Find books that are interactive

There are some really good books that allow your toddler to interact with them, helping them not only get involved with what they are reading but also helping them understand the world they live in.

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Before you start reading

Ensure there are no distractions, the TV and radio should be off. Reading should be a quiet time where the focus is the book.

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Reading with your toddler

– Get close and make reading a daily routine

Books have always been a big part of Thomas’ life. We probably spend an hour reading throughout the day.

It’s important to make reading time an enjoyable time and you can do this by being close with your toddler, whether it’s snuggled up or them sitting in your lap.

There will be moments throughout the day where Thomas doesn’t want anything to do with a book and we just put it away and do something else. Reading should never be forced.

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– Read with purpose

As Thomas is learning to speak, the books we spend time with include words that we use in our everyday conversations.

Every book I read to him, I read twice.

The first time, I read as the author would intend the book to be read, without any interruptions. Whilst reading, I make sure I point to each word to show Thomas the letters on the page make up words which tell me what to say.

We then read the book again, this time talking about each page, interacting with the pictures and repeating familiar words or passages. We have fun by making funny noises or saying words in funny voices.

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Why reading is important

– It helps your child’s development

Helping Thomas familiarise himself with sounds, words and language will help him develop important language skills and early literacy skills. It also helps him stimulate his imagination and helps him understand the world he lives in.

I want Thomas to understand and appreciate the value and joy of books and this all starts by reading at home in a happy environment.

Some of Thomas’ favourite books at the moment (mine too)

-Ralf by Jean Jullien 

This book is about Ralf who is forever getting under his family’s feet. But when a fire threatens to burn the house down, Ralf stretches himself to the limit to save his family.

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– A Little Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

This book is about Floyd who gets his kite stuck up a tree. He throws up lots of different objects to get it down but they all get stuck.

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– Tickle My Ears by Jorg Muhle

This story features a little rabbit who is getting ready for bed. Toddlers are invited to interact with Little Rabbit each step of the way, from fluffing up his pillow, to stroking his ears and kissing him goodnight.

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-Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli

Alphablock features thick pages cut into the shape of each letter, creating a sort of peek-through guessing game around the letter form itself. I’m trying to expose Thomas with the sound each letter of the Alphabet makes and this book is fantastic for it.

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– Bum Bum by Taro Mirua

We love this one but we wish it had more pages! Basically it’s a book showcasing an array of creatures bums. And each one has a distinguishing characteristic. Thomas always laughs when we read this.

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– Early Bird by Toni Yuly 

Early Bird wakes up before the sun. She is hungry. What will she have for breakfast? I like this book because it has language that emphasises action words.

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– Cleo and Casper by Stella Blackstone

This is about Cleo the cat’s friendship with the new puppy Caspar. It’s simple and super cute.

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There is another way I read with Thomas while he is playing which I’ll blog about another day. But for now, if you have any great books you love please let us know, I’m always on the lookout for quality books.